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Does America 

Need a 

Social Democratic 


William Galston 

Suzanne Goldsmith 

Penn Kemble 

Seymour Martin Lipset 

Will Marshall 

Michael Meyers 

Larry Mishel 

Michael Novak 

Albert Shanker 

Fred Siegel 

Martin ttklnr 

Paul Starr 

Lynn WilliamH 


thi: i.muAHY 

Wi 1 son Library 

Does America 

Need a 

Social Democratic 


Edited by 

Rita Freedman 


Copyright 1993 by Social Democrats, USA 

Printed in the United States. All rights reserved. No part of 
this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without 
written permission except in the case of brief quotations in 
critical articles and reviews. For permission write to: Social 
Democrats, USA, 8 15 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005. 



Robert S. Leiken 

Penn Kemble 

Welcome: Don Slairnan 
William Galston 
Albert Skanker 

Social Democracy or Liberal Capitalism? 
Chair: Rita Freedman 
Martin Sklar 
Paul Starr 

The Economy 

Chair: Sam Leiken 
Larry Miskel 
Lynn Williams 
Michael Novak 

The Polity 
Chair: Ronald Radosh 
Seymour Martin Lipset 
Will Marshall 
Fred Siegel 

The Community 
Suzanne Goldsmith 
Penn Kemble 
Michael Meyers 

List of Participants 







Un January 8-9, 1993, some 160 people gathered 
in Washington, DC to discuss a draft paper entitled "Why 
America Needs a Social Democratic Movement." 

The paper summarizes the progress of a 
conversation in progress. 

It sets out both some deeply held convictions and 
some tentative ideas. The new moment we have been 
speaking about has been constituted primarily by two 
events: the end of the Cold War and what is being called 
the second industrial revolution. 

The end of the Cold War makes it possible for 
those who share a basic social democratic perspective but 
who differed sharply over America's international role 
during the Cold War period to begin talking to one 
another, to resume a conversation. 

The paper speaks of us as survivors both of the 
Cold War and of the shipwreck of communism, now 
stepping ashore onto a new continent. The iirst piece of 
topography we encounter on this new continent is what 
some of the participants of the Little Hock economic 
summit called the second industrial revolution: a shift to 
new productive processes, a vast extension and 
refinement of the international division of labor, the 
globalization of commerce, investment, information and 
know-how and an intensification of the competition for 

In this new industrial revolution no single country 
has taken the leading role the way England did in the 
last industrial revolution. The United States, while 



inventing much of the technology of this new revolution, 
has often fallen behind in the decisive area of production. 
Our trade imbalance and our fiscal deficit may be seen as 
a result of this lag; the decay of our infrastructure and 
our schools are among the causes of it. This revolution 
promises great increases in productivity and wealth; but 
like the first industrialization, it also brings suffering, 
and eliminates jobs, communities and institutions that 
have sustained our democratic way of life. 

At the heart of the second industrial revolution is 
a transformation of the workplace in which rote, 
repetitive, physical work is being replaced by a more 
mental, flexible, cooperative labor. We agree with the 
new Secretary of Labor and with our friends at the 
Progressive Policy Institute about the importance of 
preparing the American work force for this new kind of 

To compete in the new environment, the new 
worker must prepare for a lifetime of learning and 
training; there will be little hope of re tainin g easily 
outmoded sinecures. Already, labor leaders such as AFL- 
CIO Secretary Treasurer Tom Donahue are speaking of 
a new cooperation among labor, management and 
government. Others, such as Steelworkers President 
Lynn Williams, have begun to define the new cooperation 
in practice. 

All of these issues eventually send us back to the 
political arena. In that arena, there are oligarchic as well 
as democratic tendencies. But the 1992 national election 
campaign was the most democratic in a generation. The 
voters and citizens quite spontaneously forced the 
candidates and the political parties to discuss the issues, 
the matters that they cared about. 

This spontaneous reaction to the candidates and 
political parties has put campaign reform on the top of 
the political agenda. Yet the term "special interest," or 
"interest group" suggests that our problems may be too 
deep to be resolved by elections alone: they seem to be 
rooted in weaknesses in our civic community. 

The conference explored this crisis of citizenship: 
both the widespread sentiment that our civic identities 
derive primarily from ethnic origin or gender, and also 
the erosion of certain standards of social and personal 
responsibility. We explored what has happened to the 
institutions of our commonwealth: not just government, 
but intermediate institutions such as religious groups, 
neighborhood associations, schools, universities, labor 
and professional organizations, and our cultural 

The paper presents some ideas about re-building 
the American commonwealth, stressing civil as opposed 
to group or ethnic rights, building a new civic culture 
through civic education, national service and industrial 
democracy. It also offers some ideas on developing a 
democratic international trade policy, and democratizing 
the international and domestic market systems. It calls 
for a re-examination of the original social democratic 
vision, a vision of social evolution through democratic 
politics. While that vision has had its greatest influence 
in Europe, it is also deeply implanted in the American 

Social democracy never envisioned that social 
progress would occur solely as an objective process in the 
economic realm. Nor did it imagine that it would be 
realized by the military exploits of conscious minorities, 
guiding the unconscious masses. Social democrats are 




convinced that the direction society takes should in large 
part be decided in the arena of democratic politics. 

And American politics still is shaped, as it was at 
the time of the Progressives and the New Deal, by groups 
of people with shared ideas. Our time has been shaped 
by the civil rights movement and New Left movements of 
the 60s, and then the New Right of the 70s and '80s. In 
the last election campaign, we may have seen the 
spontaneous beginnings of a citizens 1 movement for the 
'90s. If so, we are convinced that movement should take 
a social democratic direction. 

The transcript reproduced here is based on audio 
tapes made during the discussion. The speakers' 
remarks, which were not reviewed by the participants, 
were edited lightly. This therefore should not be taken 
as a facsimile record. 

A number of the observations by the speakers as 
well as comments from the audience helped sharpen and 
clarify the final paper which emerged as the companion 
piece to this publication. Therefore, the reader will find 
some references to the draft paper that do not appear in 
the same form in the final document. 

Many individuals generously helped organize the 
conference and publish the results. We are especially 
grateful to Patrick Rayner, Wendy Sawitz, Sandra Stajka 
and Victoria Thomas for their technical assistance, and 
to my colleagues on the committee that planned the 
event: Marie Louise Caravatti, Rita Freedman, Penn 
Kemble, Sam Leiken, Ron Radosh and Don Slaiman, 

Robert S. Leiken 
July 1993 


Penn Kemble 

Lt&t me sketch some reasons why we felt that our 
subject is not of sentimental or nostalgic interest, but has 
a serious relevance to the political and the cultural 
situation that our country confronts today, as we enter 
the post-Cold War and the Clinton era. The first is the 
collapse of Soviet communism, and with it the moral and 
intellectual force of the communist idea everywhere. 
There is no end of pundits who argue that the collapse of 
communism also entails the end of social democracy, and 
all other forms of radical thought and possibility. We are 
drawn to the view that just the opposite is the case. 
Totalitarian communism imposed a crushing burden on 
the democratic left, a burden that stifled creative thought 
and civil discussion. With that burden lifted, we should 
be able to resume an intellectual and political enterprise 
that was nearly suffocated three quarters of a century 

It seems quite grand to speak in such sweeping 
historical terms, and grand (or grandiose) talk is one of 
the faults of the left that we still need to be wary of. Rut 
in our particular case, it may be justifiable to think in 
sweeping terms. The seizure of power by armed anti- 
democratic cadres of the Bolshevik revolution and the 
subsequent emergence of an international communist 
system, arguably for a time the most powerful military 
force and the most brutal political and economic system 
the world has known, was not a helpful thing to the 
humanistic and democratic socialism in whose name this 
monster claimed to speak. This is a matter that most of 
us understand well enough. 



Because this curse has been lifted, however, there 
is no necessary reason to assume that one of its major 
victims, social democracy, can or should be revived* Not 
all wrongs can be made right, and sentimentality and 
nostalgia are never good reasons to embark on a political 
project. There has to be a real need for a social 
democratic movement in America today, a need that no 
other political group or community can or will fill. There 
also has to be an identifiable and substantial 
constituency for an American social democratic 

It is our sense, particularly in the aftermath of the 
Clinton election, that there is a place for a social 
democratic movement today, and that potentially it could 
be a very important place. It will take a lot of thought to 
fill that place, and a lot of effort. The following are some 
suggestions about the dimensions of the space that is 
open to a movement of the kind that we contemplate. 

Social democrats are, above all, democrats. We 
have learned that great power centers directed from 
above, even when they are directed by the "best" people, 
or perhaps especially when they are directed by the 
"best" people, can become oppressive and destructive. We 
believe that democratic life requires the active, informed 
and organized participation of broad sectors of the 
population. This may sound like something of a cliche. 
But I think that if we look closely at American public life 
today, beneath its pervasive populist rhetoric there is a 
significant and perhaps even growing elitism. 

There is certainly elitism in some quarters of the 
great corporate and financial centers, where politics is 
money and the influence it buys. To some in these 
sectors, as we saw in the last election, politics is often 
little more than a calculated attempt at dividing and 



discrediting opposition. The wealth and privilege that 
accrue from economic activity - I was tempted to say 
from private economic activity, but increasingly wealth 
and privilege derive also from "public" economic activity - 
- the wealth and privilege that accrue from economic 
activity are not subjected to a significant public 

This elitism of economic power, as we saw in the 
last election, does not always prevail. But it is very 
powerful. It extends well beyond the Republican Party, 
and even the ranks of conservativism. 

But there is also an elitism of the left, a 
paternalistic elitism, which afflicts both liberalism and 
other sectors of the left. This elitism can be seen in the 
bureaucracies of the welfare state, in the deterioration of 
some sectors of Democratic Party politics into a kind of 
menage & trots, involving big givers, consultants and the 
media. And if one listens ever so closely, one may hear 
traces of this elitism even in some of the new ideas that 
are wafting through Washington today. 

It is sometimes suggested that what is wrong with 
our country can be set right by putting the better policy 
elites at the topmost levels of government and other 
social institutions; that our society can somehow be 
righted by a progressive kind of dirigisrne. Another way 
to translate that French word dirigisrne, someone 
suggested, might be "wonkocracy." 

We have to be very sympathetic to the incoming 
political currents. They represent a tremendous step 
forward, and there are many people among them with 
whom we can have a very constructive and effective 
conversation. But I think that we also have to address 
the risk that if they are not linked to a popular base, if 



they are not made accountable to a popular politics, some 
of these ideas could go awry, as so many experiments in 
"change" have in the past. 

It is our concern about a popular base for 
progressive politics that brings us into alignment with 
another institution that desperately needs allies today: 
the American labor movement. Part of the defining 
character that an American social democratic movement 
must have is a close relationship to the American labor 
movement. We have this relationship in part because we 
are committed to the efforts of poor and working class 
and moderate income people to improve their standards 
of living, and to maintain a substantial degree of equality 
with others. 

We are, unlike some, members or friends of the 
"really existing" labor movement, to borrow a term from 
our friends in Eastern Europe. The organized trade 
unions not only contribute to better living standards and 
decent working conditions for people in this country, they 
also still form the most important institution that 
involves lower income people in a democratic way in 
economic and civic affairs. Therefore trade unions must 
be a central element in any effort to recreate a popular 
politics in the United States. 

Those of us who have been defenders of the labor 
movement for the past 20 years or so are quite familiar 
with the criticisms that are made of labor unions. Some 
of these criticisms deserve to be considered and discussed 
and even admitted. But so far none of these criticisms 
has refuted two central points. Trade unions remain the 
only institution in the country that consistently fights for 
economic equality and better living standards across a 
broad range of issues and institutions. Trade unions 
remain the only truly mass-based democratic institutions 




of the country, institutions that have members and that 
organize them to participate in our civic life. 

Another point that distinguishes us is that social 
democrats believe that society may limit or guide the 
operations of the economic market, and may use 
democratic government as a means to do it. There are 
other people, of course, who believe this* But they are 
not organized, they have no principled and coherent 
argument which they put forward to counter the 
principled and coherent arguments of the right or the 
irresponsible left. 

Social Democrats are also a community of people, 
a community of values, a political movement that is 
concerned about cultural and moral questions, as well as 
hard political and economic issues. In the social 
democratic tradition one finds a genuine concern for 
values, an issue that was raised in the last political 
campaign. We have a somewhat different slant on it. 
But the community that brought forth such figures as 
Sidney Hook, Bayard Rustin, and A, Philip Randolph is 
one which embodies a strong moral and civic tradition. 

Ours is not a movement that addresses only the 
cold blooded interests of politics and economics. Our 
movement has been one of the great educational and 
socializing forces in American society. If one goes through 
the ranks of many of the public institutions in our 
country, one finds people who were either formed by this 
movement or touched by it in some deeply influential 
way. Because social democracy is a moral tradition, we 
have some distinctive insights about the situation our 
country faces today. 

We are troubled by the selfishness and greed that 
afflicted some quarters of American life in the decade 


past, and certainly do today. We believe that people have 
a right to pursue wealth; we are not hostile to the idea of 
anyone's getting rich. But we know that there are other 
values that must be served, and that they can be 
endangered by too ravenous a pursuit of wealth. 

We are also deeply concerned about the moral life 
of poor and working people: we refuse to deny the 
terrible disintegration of moral and civic life in some 
sectors of American society* We are quite aware that 
anyone who talks about issues of responsibility runs the 
risk of blaming the victims, or appearing to join in an 
attack on people who have been disadvantaged. 

Our response is that those who seek to help people 
rise up from poverty in fact have the primary 
responsibility to criticize, and to try to improve, the 
moral and civic environment in which the poor live. 
Poverty is not — especially today « something to be 
remedied solely by more money or by a change in the 
social relations, although both are essential to the task. 
Unless the moral and civic culture are also addressed, it 
is not going to be possible significantly to improve the 
situation of poor and working people. 

So we acknowledge that democracy and progress 
are harmed by crime and irresponsible and self-indulgent 
behavior among the poor and among working people, and 
we seek to mobilize the citizens of those communities, 
who themselves are the principal victims of such 
behavior, to help set things right. We believe that this 
view could be said to be a very "radical" one, and that 
those who hold it are the genuine left. 

Finally, as social democrats we are inter- 
nationalists. Today this too is a somewhat distinctive 
position to take in American life. In the primaries of the 
last election, both the right and the left offered the 



temptation of a new isolationism: the argument that the 
United States should turn inward to solve its own 
problems. Now that the Cold War has lifted, they 
propose that America turn away from the responsibilities 
of world leadership. 

Social democrats recognize that we live in a world 
where new financial power centers are emerging, where 
new governments are gaining strength. It is extremely 
important that there be an international politics of 
decency and democracy that curbs the excesses of these 
power centers, makes them accountable to people and 
ensures that they do not become platforms for assault 
upon societies such as ours. 

These are some qualities that distinguish the 
social democratic current in American life today. We 
don't pretend that social democracy will easily become a 
dominant political movement in our society, but we do 
feel that it is now possible for us to be a much more 
effective movement than we have been in the recent past. 
We see our movement not as a battering ram seeking 
power, but as a community of values and a source of 
mutual assistance. 

We also feel that our movement can fill an 
important need in the lives of many decent and energetic 
people* We sense a yearning in our country for a new 
kind of political community, and we hope we offer one 
important place where that yearning can be fulfilled* 
That is our rationale for the discussion this weekend. ♦ 


Don Slaiman 

William Galston 

Albert Shanker 


Welcome from Don Slaiman 

Welcome on behalf of Social Democrats, USA, 
the League for Industrial Democracy, and the Bayard 
Rustin Fund, who are co-sponsoring this conversation on 
"Does America Need a Social Democratic Movement?" 

In the past we had very definite answers on the 
nature of dictatorship and totalitarianism, and how to 
fight them. We had very definite answers on the benefits 
of extending democracy here and abroad, and we had a 
clear perspective on what the Democratic Party needed 
to do to win the presidency. But we recognize that this 
is a new era, a time to take a fresh look at many issues 
that either had been obscured by the Cold War, or that 
did not loom large on the radar screen until now. So we 
have called you together to talk and explore and search 
for answers* And if we agree upon some of these, we can 
have an impact on the future, ♦ 


William Galston 

At the time of this conference, William Galston was a 
professor at the School of Public Affairs at the University 
of Maryland, He is now serving in the White House as 
Deputy Assistant Secretary to the President for Domestic 
Policy. Previously, he was issues director in Walter 
Mondale's presidential campaign and an advisor to Albert 
Gore during the contest for the 1988 presidential 
nomination. He is the author of numerous books and 
articles on political philosophy, American politics and 
public policy. He has also written studies for the 
Progressive Policy Institute, and co-authored "A 
Progressive Family Policy for the 1990's" and "The 
Transition: Reasserting Presidential Leadership" in PPFs 
Mandate for Change, 

J.t is my happy duty to offer some public 
reflections on the draft document, I think it is a very 
forward-looking document. I find myself in agreement 
with most of its substance. I was especially struck with 
the sections on the new global economy, on intermediate 
institutions, on responsibility and community and 
citizenship, and on the need for a new social contract 
between the providers of labor and the providers of 

The question this document formulates and tries 
to answer is, profoundly, the right question. In 
particular the noun "movement" is absolutely appropriate 
for the current circumstances. If one thinks of what has 
really changed American politics in the past couple of 
generations, one thinks of movements like the civil rights 
movement and the environmental movement. Perhaps in 


a generation one will also think of the communitarian 
movement, of which I am a charter member. (I am 
happy to see our founder, Amitai Etzioni, here in the 

But the reason that this noun "movement" is so 
emphatically the right one is deeply rooted in social 
changes that have occurred in the United States in the 
past two generations. One hundred years ago we were 
an agricultural nation. Fifty years ago we were an urban 
nation. Now we are a suburban nation. 1992 was the 
first presidential election in which an absolute majority 
of votes cast were cast by people who lived in the 
suburbs. And with suburbanization has come a real 
fragmentation of American society. Large institutions 
have come under pressure, and they have not dealt with 
that pressure very well. Political parties, corporations, 
and yes, labor unions as well have all come under 
pressure and all have weakened, all have fragmented in 
certain ways. 

The 1984 Mondale campaign, in which I served as 
issues director, was perhaps the last presidential 
campaign that tried to operate in accordance with the old 
corporatist model of the New Deal. Society was divided 
up into nice, calculable blocs. There are leaders and 
followers, and if the leaders say "yes, we're on board," 
then the followers will follow. 

Well, the leaders all said "yes, we're on board." 
But, regrettably, the followers did not follow. There was 
a very important lesson there: in order to talk about a 
political base for progressive reform in this country, one 
can no longer talk about the aggregation of institutions 
as solid blocs. One must talk about a movement which 
is made up of thousands and millions of individual people 
signing on to a cause in which they believe. 


I noted with interest that the draft document 
referred approvingly to the rise of direct, unmediated 
contact via television between presidential candidates 
and individual voters. I would point out that there is an 
interesting contradiction between approving of that lack 
of mediation on the one hand, and praising institutional 
mediation on the other. This has to be thought through. 

Let me now turn to the document itself, which I 
greatly admire, I want to push the logic of its argument 
a little, and raise some questions. I divide my remarks 
into two sections, general and specific. 

I agree that this is a unique historical moment. 
It is time to turn toward principles. I believe that nearly 
everybody in this room, and most people in this country, 
are now committed to the creation over time of a society 
in which all citizens enjoy a reasonable level of physical 
and material security, rights against outside intrusion, 
the ability to participate in democratic self-government 
and the opportunity to develop and exercise a wide range 
of satisfying human capacities within a dense network of 
social relations, I take that as common ground. Those 
are ends that we share. 

The issue before us -- and the issue that will 
define the content not only of the movement under 
discussion tonight but all other progressive movements in 
the next generation or two - is not ends but rather 
means. This is not a trivial issue - I believe it is the 
issue. In dealing with this issue, it is essential to be 
empirical rather than doctrinal. We must reflect not only 
on the present historical moment, but also on the clear 
lessons of modern history. 

A few months ago there was a very remarkable 
meeting, parallel in some ways to this one, reflecting on 
the 50th anniversary of the publication of Joseph 


Schumpeter's Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy. In 
the proceedings of that meeting, reprinted in The Journal 
of Democracy, there is an article by Peter Berger which 
is pertinent to our discussion tonight. He poses the 
following question: Does political democracy require or 
depend upon a market economy? Berger goes on to say: 
"Here is one question where caution is not called for. 
The answer is a resounding yes. The reason for it is 
strictly empirical. The evidence overwhelmingly suggests 

That evidence makes possible three simple but 
far-reaching propositions. One, there has been no case of 
political democracy that has not been a market economy, 
or if one prefers a sharper formulation, there has been no 
case of democratic socialism. Two, there have been 
numerous cases of non-democratic market economies. 
And three, when market economies are successful over a 
period of time, pressure for democratization inevitably 
ensues. That I think is a very challenging formulation of 
one way to read the lessons of the past 75 years. 

As we think empirically about the lessons of the 
past 75 years, it occurs to me that the ideological debates 
of the past may not serve very well in this endeavor. For 
example, if as the discussion draft contends, "social 
democracy states that the government is justified in 
using its constitutional powers to promote the general 
welfare by pursuing programs that can bring economic 
welfare to the community at large," if that is social 
democracy, then I would submit to you that virtually 
everyone is now a social democrat. 

At least since the mid-1980s the issue is not 
whether government, at least the U.S. government, is 
constitutionally justified in so acting, but whether as a 
matter of fact the proposed action will over time make 


matters better or worse. Continuing this line of 
argument, it is not clear to me that the distinction that 
the discussion draft conjures between social democracy 
and welfare state liberalism is really of much use 
anymore. While perhaps useful in the formulation of 
ideal types, it is not clear to me that it clarifies very 
much about contemporary American politics. 

For example, the draft states that welfare state 
liberalism merely attempts to redistribute the product to 
those marginalized by the market system, but social 
democracy seeks ways of employing those left out by the 
market. Well, here I must say I think of endeavors like 
the CCC, CETA, contemporary work-based welfare 
reform proposals, the national service proposal on which 
I have the honor now to be working. And it seems to me 
that all of these programs past, present or prospective 
have one foot in the social democratic ideal type, and the 
other foot in what you call welfare liberalism, and it's not 
clear to me that that distinction reveals as much as it 
conceals any more. 

These general observations reflect my grounding 
as a political philosopher. Let me turn to four specific 
issues that may serve to sharpen the discussion a little 
bit. First of all, the economic context of this discussion 
of social democracy. The document is very fair and 
accurate in focusing on issues such as the global mobility 
of capital and production, and the movement towards 
global competition. But, to push the argument a step 
further, the U.S. economy and indeed all other economies 
are now enmeshed in what I call the inexorable logic of 

Consider for a minute the automobile industry, 
which, as we all know, is beleaguered by the Japanese. 
The critical issue in the U.S. auto industry is not dollars 


per hour of work, it's number of hours of work per 
automobile. It is not fundamentally a question of one 
country driving down wages and working conditions to 
gain a competitive advantage. It is rather gaining 
competitive advantage through a production process 
which reduces the number of hours worked for each 
automobile produced. That is one of the fundamental 
problems that we are now facing. 

The document talks quite accurately about the 
decline in manufacturing jobs since 1979. I would 
suggest to you that the condition of U.S. manufacturing 
in 1993 is roughly analogous to the condition of U.S. 
agriculture in 1893. That condition can be summed up in 
the following proposition: a growing wedge between 
production on the one hand and employment on the 
other. The number of people engaged in agriculture in 
1993 is only a small fraction of the number of people 
engaged in agriculture in 1893, but the level of 
agricultural production has expanded very considerably. 
Over time, U.S. agriculture produced more and more with 
a lower and lower labor input. I submit in the name of 
realism that this is the inexorable course of history with 
respect to U.S. manufacturing as well. So it is futile to 
think about restoring the fraction of manufacturing jobs 
to the level we enjoyed 40 years ago, or even 20 years 

Interestingly enough, the loss of control of the 
economic environment by U.S. corporations has created 
a social democratic moment, almost paradoxically, 
because this loss of control has meant a diminished 
capacity on the part of the corporation to provide for the 
basic needs of their workers in areas such as health care 
and pensions. It has sparked a discussion which I think 
will come to fruition perhaps in the next four years about 


the social provision of things such as health care and 
guaranteed pensions. So, ironically, the forces that have 
weakened both U.S. corporations and organized labor 
have opened up a space for a social democratic discussion 
in these critical areas. 

Let me turn to a second specific issue, the political 
content of this discussion of a social democratic 
movement. Here let me 
quote to you from a very wise 
man, who stated two different 
things that seem to be taking 
place in the mood of the 
country. One is an increased 
recognition that the public 
sector has a significant role to 
play and that our social and 
service institutions need to be 
strengthened. The other is 
the widespread feeling that 
the culture that prevails in 

the public sector and in the institutions of what we have 
called the commonwealth is not a culture that the people 

The public does not want to give resources to 
these institutions because they do not think that these 
institutions are very efficient. Even more important, 
they do not believe that the values that prevail in these 
institutions are consistent with their own values. The 
very wise person was Perm Kemble, speaking last year at 
a meeting called a New Moment in America. 

I think that he was absolutely right, and helps to 
define an essential political problem that we are all 


The American public wants to invest in increased 
public activism, but it does not trust the traditional 
institutions by which the public agenda has been moved 
in this country. For that reason, the "reinventing" 
government that some of us at the Progressive Policy 
Institute and elsewhere have been talking about is not 
just a technocratic idea, it is a political necessity if public 
support for public sector activity is to be regained and 

Conversely, there is no support for the further 
multiplication of bureaucracy and bureaucratic 
institutions. The language of individual empowerment 
and choice in the context of institutional flexibility flows 
from the increasing education and sophistication of the 
citizenry, and their increased access to sources of 
information. These are irresistible social trends. They 
will characterize the politics and social movements of the 
future and any social movement that wants to succeed 
will build on this really existing social base in 1993. 

The third point is what might be called the social 
context. The draft document endorses both expanded 
democratic government and increased public sector 
activism, and the importance of civil society and the 
Catholic principle of subsidiarity. The problem is that 
these two commitments may be in tension with one 
another. As the sociologist Alan Wolff points out, the 
public provision of certain sorts of social services can 
undermine civil society, can undermine social relations, 
can undermine this dense network of community that we 
all want to sustain and nurture. Does it always? No, Can 
it? Absolutely. 

This is something to think about because I'm not 
sure that the document brings together or highlights the 
potential tension between public activism on the one 


hand and the distinctive importance and strength of civil 
society on the other. 

I now turn to my final point, which may perhaps 
form a suitable bridge to the final speaker on the panel. 
I want to propose that the old familiar triad of economy, 
polity and society that helps to structure this draft 
document may not be fully adequate to the most profound 
problems that we now face as a society. Let me give you 
an example* 

I read a very interesting article recently in the 
New York Times about the Hartford public school system 
in my home state of Connecticut. The article pointed out 
that spending per student in Hartford's public schools is 
almost ten percent above the Connecticut state average. 
So are teachers' salaries in the Hartford public school 
system. But student achievement in that system is 
woefully below the state average in every category. Why? 
The article points us toward an answer. In an average 
fifth grade class of 23 children in Hartford, three are 
born with low birth weight, three are born to mothers 
using drugs, five are born to teenage mothers, fifteen are 
living in single parent households, 

As I was preparing these remarks I received the 
monthly publication of the Joint Center for Political and 
Economic Studies, perhaps the premier institution 
studying public policy issues affecting African 
Americans. Let me read a brief excerpt from the lead 
article. "According to a study by the National Center for 
Health Statistics, children who grow up in families 
without both biological parents are likely to have more 
behavioral problems in school, to be suspended more, and 
to be more likely to be expelled or to drop out of school. 
The problem is exacerbated when a single parent has not 
had a successful school experience." 


The article goes on to say that nearly half of all 
African American eighth graders live in conditions that 
put them at risk of school failure. According to data 
published by the U*S* Department of Education, over 46% 
of African American eighth graders now live in single 
parent families. This is an example of what I am talking 
about: a profound problem that may not be adequately 
captured by the familiar triad of economy, polity and 
society. But phenomena of this sort, I would submit, lie 
very close to the heart of many of the social problems 
that we now face, and go some distance toward 
explaining their apparent intractability. 

Such phenomena are a challenge to our policies 
and to our ideas. Social democrats and welfare liberals 
alike have tacitly assumed the existence of intact families 
doing their part to produce young people with the 
appropriate skills and virtues. The only thing that the 
public sector had to do was to find the jobs. We can no 
longer make that assumption. Can public action 
substitute for what the family used to provide? If not, 
and I fear that the answer may be no, what are the 
consequences for our traditional ways of thinking? How 
do these affect the way that those of us in different 
movements ~ whether communitarian, social democratic, 
liberal or whatever else, think about the challenges that 
our nation now confronts? ♦ 


Albert Shank er 

Albert Shanker has been president of the American 
Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, since 1974. He is a vice 
president of the AFL-CIQ, and chair of its International 
Affairs committee. Recognized as a leading thinker on 
issues relating to education, Mr. Shanker serves on 
numerous boards and committees including the National 
Academy of Education, the National Board for 
Professional Teaching Standards, and the President's 
Education Policy Advisory Committee. He also serves on 
the President's Council on Competitiveness, and the 
boards oftheA f Philip Randolph Institute and the League 
for Industrial Democracy. 

I want to touch on a number of separate points in 
the paper, points that ought to be central issues dealt 
with by social democrats in this period. 

First, the paper correctly deals with the new 
situation in the world. I think that the key issue here is 
whether the United States in this next period is going to 
be like the United States after World War I, or the 
United States after World War II. That is still a very 
open question. Will the public be tired of all its efforts, 
and just pull back? Or will we recognize that in war, 
when one side is defeated, the victor has to take 
responsibility, as we did after WWII? 

One of the great dangers is that we will not play 
that role, and that the consequences will be like the 
disaster that followed WWI, not like the success following 

Secondly, the paper correctly deals with the issue 
of taxes and ineffective government* There's an issue it 


doesn't deal with, however, and that is not the question 
of ineffective government, but government arrogance: 
government that pushes for, pays for, imposes things that 
are extremely unpopular. Over the last 40 or 50 years, 
we have had countless government decisions and actions 
through the courts, legislatures and other state bodies. 
We are about to see another ~ dealing with the 
Connecticut case that Bill Galston just cited. Clearly the 
kids in Hartford are not doing well, and 90% of the 
youngsters there belong to minorities. Other districts in 
the state are doing much better, and they are largely 
non-minority. The Governor proposed that there be 6 or 
7 districts set up in the state and that there be a 
statewide massive student integration plan. Now we 
have had very substantial and lengthy experience with 
efforts of this sort to integrate, and it's fascinating after 
all these years that a public official can propose a notion 
like this with any belief that there is a chance it will 
succeed in any of its announced goals. 

Just look at a few things done in the last few 
years. The Congress of the United States almost 
unanimously and bi-partisanly voted for a catastrophic 
medical plan for senior citizens which was to be paid for 
by senior citizens. The net effect was that those senior 
citizens who already had good health insurance had to 
pay $1,000 to $2,000 in taxes to provide for catastrophic 
insurance for those who didn't have it. It took two 
sessions for the Congress, almost by the same vote, to 
repeal the legislation. There would have been a very 
clear redistributionist result. Now was it wrong? 
Weren't those who had catastrophic insurance fairly well 
off? Shouldn't those who didn't have the insurance get 
it? Argue all you want: there was a tremendously 
negative political reaction. 


Another example involved Governor Florio of New 
Jersey. Can anyone justify the notion that where you 
rent your apartment should determine that you have an 
education that costs $3,000, whereas, if you live down the 
road, it costs $6,000 or $7,000 or $17,000? People find it 
difficult to justify inequality of resources in the 
educational area. But legislation that took away money 
from wealthy districts and gave some money to poorer 
districts resulted in Republican veto-proof majorities in 
both houses of the state legislature, and not only the 
reversal of that plan, but a reversal of much other 
progressive legislation as well. 

If we review the consequences of social legislation 
over the last 30 or 40 years, a substantial amount of 
humility is needed by those of use who hope that any 
governmentally-enacted program will bring about the 
results that were initially intended, without 
simultaneously bringing about undesirable results that 
outweigh the desired ones. Shouldn't a youngster who 
doesn't speak a word of English have someone whom that 
youngster can talk to? Shouldn't that youngster who 
can't understand English have instruction in a language 
that he or she can understand? Who would argue with 

But a recent front page New York Times article 
reported that if you have an Hispanic surname, even if 
you don't speak a word of Spanish, and if your father and 
mother don't speak a word of Spanish, you are to be put 
into a Spanish-speaking class. So, by law, we have an 
English-speaking youngster who is put into a Spanish- 
speaking class -- without understanding a word that is 
being said. Yet this is acceptable. The rules say that if 
you have a Spanish surname, and if you are below 
average in English, then you should be put into a 



Spanish-speaking program. (At least that's the way that 
it is generally enforced in order to avoid litigation.) But 
no one asks whether your Spanish is better than your 
English, or whether you have any Spanish at all. 

Take the notion of open enrollment for higher 
education. It is not a bad idea to say that many students 
get a lot better as they get older, and one should not hold 
all their previous grades against them. They might work 
harder, they might become more motivated, and perhaps 
an examination does not measure everything that a 
youngster knows and is able to do. So let him into 
college. If he doesn't make it, then make the decision that 
he shouldn't be there. But nobody figured out that when 
you have built the buildings and hired professors and 
instructors and enrolled thousands of additional students, 
no one would have the nerve to close down the buildings 
and fire everybody and tell the students that they hadn't 
made it. 

The list goes on: there is education for the 
handicapped, which was supposed to bring in those kids 
who weren't previously enrolled in school. The result has 
been that almost a quarter of the kids in the country 
have been classified as handicapped. Those of us who 
subscribe to the proposition that it is legitimate for 
government to promote the public welfare need much 
greater analysis as to how we can avoid the huge array 
of failures. I would suggest that instead of trying to 
promote the public welfare through the kinds of 
government programs and actions that we have tried 
before, namely through rules, regulations and 
bureaucracies, we try instead to see if government can 
put certain incentives in place. 

Let me go back to a moment I shared with a few 
people in this room who were fortunate enough to be in 


Prague the day the Civic Forum won the elections. The 
next day there was a forum sponsored by the National 
Democratic Institute, There were quite a number of 
speakers celebrating the moment. There were even one 
or two Americans who were refighting the Vietnam war 
in front of the Czechs on the day of their election victory - 
- almost impossible to believe. 

One of the speakers was Garrett Fitzgerald, who 
noted that one of the bad things that came out of then- 
election results was that there was no opposition. He felt 
it was always good to have your opposition in another 
party, because if you didn't, they were inside your party. 
Then he said that probably, because of their experience 
with communism, they were going to get the government 
out of everything, they were going to privatize 

This is an interesting phenomenon that some of us 
who have been in Eastern Europe have seen. Many of 
these countries want the public schools to be private so 
that if there is a dictatorship again, the schools will not 
be in the hands of the government, or at least it would be 
difficult for the government to get hold of the schools if 
communists take over again. So what is a left position in 
one society, becomes a right position in another. 
Fitzgerald warned them against thinking that the market 
could do everything, Specifically, he said that the market 
is not very good at making sure that everyone in society 
gets adequate health care, or a decent education. 

That is a message that needs repeating. But if we 
are to sustain some government services, the argument 
for them should not center on the inherent superiority of 
one form of organization over another. If we look at our 
economy, it is evident that our private sector is also a big 
mess. Companies do not think 10 or 15 years in advance 


because the CEO is interested in the short-run bottom 
line. There are all sorts of incentives within the 
structure that get people to behave in ways that are not 
good either for the company or for the country. 

I think that the issue, for both the public and the 
private sectors, is the same. 
We tried to ask what is 
better, centralization or 
decentralization, government 
or private institutions; we 
discussed who is going to 
manage, and at what level. 
But we have had almost no 
discussion of how we can put 
the right incentives into place 
to make both systems work 
Michael Porter, who has done some work for the 
Competitiveness Council, has some fascinating 
suggestions. For example, suppose you take the issue of 
stock options for chief executive officers and you say a 
company can reward CEO's with as much stock as it 
wants -- it is a private company. But the CEO can't sell 
any of the stock for at least five years and he can*t sell 
any more than 5% of it each year after that. Then he has 
to think what the stock will be worth 10 or 15 years from 
now, rather than just selling off some valuable asset so 
he can make a tremendous killing in the short term. 
That is how one thinks about putting incentives into the 
system. The same is true of our public institutions. 

I watched some years ago as Richard Green 
became the Chancellor of the New York City schools. 
Here is a system which has a 7 billion dollar budget, 
about a million students, and about 160,000 employees of 


various sorts. I wanted to see what would be the first 
decision made by the chief executive officer of the school 
system. The first decision was that kindergarten 
youngsters would not be promoted to the first grade 
unless they passed a competency examination. I don't 
want to argue whether that's a good policy or not. I 
would just like to ask in what sort of business, which is 
a seven billion dollar business on 1000 worksites 
involving 1,200,000 people, would the chief executive 
officer be dealing with that issue rather than the issue of 
what they are trying to produce, how can he get people to 
do it, and how does he monitor it to see whether it is 
happening or not, what sort of accountability system is 

I would like to see a move away from the rather 
fruitless question of who can do things best, and from 
trying to create new bureaucracies and new regulations, 
to finding ways for government to deal with the issue of 

My next point deals with the social contract issue, 
which I think is an extremely important one. I doubt 
that many of the issues that are being talked about by 
the Clinton Administration — community and national 
service, apprenticeship programs -- can work in our 
society as it exists now. We support many of these ideas. 
But they can work only in societies where unions, 
management and government are involved in some social 
agreement, and where they all know that none of the 
parties is just waiting for the chance to kill the others. 
In Germany, the unions negotiate provisions for all of the 
youngsters in high school to have work experience. They 
are not worried that the union is going to be broken, or 
that the kids are going to be used to replace union 
workers at lower wages, or that somebody is trying to 


create a great supply of people in order to change the 
union bargaining position. 

The minute volunteers or apprentices are 
suggested for an industry in the United States, the 
people who work there are going to be threatened. And 
none of these things is going to work under such 
circumstances. CETA didn't work because nobody gave 
the youngsters in the program any real jobs. They got 
jobs that nobody else wanted, so they wouldn't threaten 
anybody. And that was a relatively small program. Now 
we are talking about programs in which it is proposed 
that huge numbers of people will be involved, without a 
substantial amount of trust on the part of the workers 
and their unions who must be involved if the programs 
are to succeed. 

I am a member of the Competitiveness Policy 
Council. Over a period of 8 years, we have discussed 
budget cuts, taxes and a host of other difficult matters. 
We were about to vote on these issues when I raised a 
question. I noted that we had a number of government 
representatives, union people, and management people 
on tie Council and if we were in Germany, we could 
shake hands and we would know that the deal we were 
making right there was the deal. We would change some 
of our traditional union positions, maybe we would accept 
a value added tax, maybe we would accept the idea that 
some fringe benefits would be taxed, maybe we would 
accept some cuts, in exchange for the others agreeing 
that there would be a higher tax bracket for people with 
higher income. We could agree upon a package. 

But I told them that we Americans could not 
really make a deal there. We would end up going to 
Congress. And I had to ask myself: if we give on some of 
these issues, and then everybody runs to Congress to 


protect his piece, would our willingness to compromise in 
that room mean that only we would end up making 
sacrifices because we would be weaker before Congress? 
In the absence of some sort of relationship of trust, I 
couldn't give, even though I wanted to. 

Now that's a central issue: by and large, in the 
United States, the notion is not just that labor is an 
adversary. The notion is that if you are in management 
and you allow a union to get into your business, then you 
have done something wrong. Everyone looks at you as if 
you're not a man or a woman. Somehow you have lost. 
In that context, many of the most noble ideas that are 
now being presented just won't work. 

The last issue has to do with multiculturalism. 
Marty Lipset, who is speaking later at this conference, 
wrote a piece on how quotas were never really popular 
with anyone in the U.S., but they nevertheless are 
pushed by some politicos. We have the same sort of 
situation today with multiculturalism. 

The impression is that among Hispanics, African 
Americans, and other racial or ethnic groups there is a 
huge explosion of ethnic identity, and a desire for 
separateness. There are demographic studies and 
speeches contending that in the year 2000, 2010, or 2040, 
there is going to be a majority of minorities and that we 
better understand that everything is going to change. 

But when the New York State United Teachers 
took a state-wide poll, it found that although minority 
parents certainly want their forbearers to be in the 
history books, the overwhelming majority want their 
children to learn traditional history. That is, they want 
them to get the education that everybody else gets. As a 
matter of fact, more white parents said that it was 


important to teach separate ethnic approaches than 
Hispanic and African American parents did. 

There was just a very important poll sponsored by 
a number of Hispanic organizations. The results suggest 
that Hispanics don't really consider themselves Hispanics 
or Latinos. They identify with whichever country they 
were from. The picture is the same as it was for 
immigrants of 40, or 50 or 60 years ago, in terms of how 
they think of themselves. They think there is too much 
immigration to the United States. They don't think that 
they have a special relationship with other Spanish- 
speaking people. 

There has been a massive spread of curriculum 
materials and required courses on multiculturalism. 
After a recent act of violence, students told a Los Angeles 
Times reporter that all of their courses on ethnic identity, 
which are supposed to bring them together, are actually 
tearing them apart. 

I am not arguing for the old-fashioned flag-waving 
history, in which many of the people who helped build 
the country are absent, or non-existent. What I am 
talking about is the notion that each group somehow has 
to learn things from its own point of view, as someone 
interprets that point of view. To my knowledge, this will 
be the first time in history when a nation, through its 
government agencies, promotes a program designed to 
keep the citizens of its country apart, and to reduce a 
feeling of commonness. It's one thing to say that we 
shouldn't suppress differences, that we should enjoy 
them, celebrate them and tolerate them. It's another 
thing to say that we ought to be telling people they are 
immoral if they don't continue to magnify differences, or 
even create differences where none may exist. 


At some point we need to deal with this question, 
if we are going to continue, as I think we should, to argue 
that there is a proper and appropriate role for 
government, that government ought to be active, and that 
it is there to promote the public welfare. 

If there were a few isolated cases, we could say 
someone made a mistake, and that happens once in a 
while. Unfortunately, the record now is almost at the 
point where you could make a pretty good argument that 
these are not accidents, that it's almost standard 
operating procedure. And when you get to that point, it 
seems to me that you begin to get a justification for 
saying that we should get government out, WeVe got to 
ask how this happened, why it is continuing to happen, 
why it is going wrong, + 


Amitai Etzioni: I think the perception that any one 
institution declined over the last 20 or 30 years - labor, 
or the Democratic Party, for example -- is misleading. If 
you look at the data on the confidence gap, you realize 
that since the *50s, the confidence in and legitimacy of all 
American institutions has declined: the church and the 
military, the presidency, journalism, lawyers, doctors and 
the family. If you view it in that context you begin to see 
a broader picture. There are some very interesting 
parallel data that ask Americans a battery of six 
questions that social scientists refer to as alienation 
questions. They judge how angry people are by their 
responses to such statements as; in this country nobody 
cares about people like me, the rich get richer and the 


poor get poorer, etc. These studies show another side of 
the same decline in optimism and confidence. 

What is happening, in my judgment, is that there 
was an established society, a silent generation with 
values intact. It was not a society I necessarily 
recommend to anybody. It was discriminatory against 
minorities, it was discriminatory against women and it 
was rather authoritarian. In those days when a doctor 
told you what to do, you didn't dream of saying you 
wanted a second opinion. And if somebody told you to 
make a cup of coffee, you didn't think of calling NOW. 
But it was a society in which norms were relatively 
clearly established. We destroyed much of that -- and 
destruction always comes relatively easily. But now we 
have an enormous yearning for new affirmations, for 
some guidelines, for some newly established values and 

When I ask myself what social force can 
rejuvenate society, can grant a new legitimacy by 
reforming institutions, I come back to the same point 
that Bill Galston made. There is only one answer, in my 
judgment. It has to be a major social movement. The 
great environmental movement was similar to past 
religious movements. That kind of commitment and 
enthusiasm is the only force which can restore 
legitimacy. This document — a very powerful, very 
important document ~ goes a long way in my judgment 
to chart the map for such a movement. We have to add 
some questions about the family, the moral side of 
schools, neighborhoods and such. But basically it goes a 
long way. 

I would like us to consider the problem of the 
creation of a lot of small splinters, small movelets, and 
under what conditions they could provide the basis for 


the powerful, encompassing movement we need. I think 
we need a movement at least as big as the environmental 
movement. That movement would make its target not 
nature, but the rebuilding of society in all its facets. For 
that to happen, we need something even more broad- 
based than what I have heard about so far. How can we 
move from a lot of little small groups to something that 
is as broad-based and powerful as we need? 

Norman Hill: I would like to briefly raise three 
questions. First, the paper referred to the changing 
nature of work, in a perfectly accurate way. But it does 
not simultaneously mention the changing demographics 
of the workforce, in terms of increasing numbers of 
minorities and women, and what that means for those 
who are either in or not in the workforce. The paper 
refers to the second industrial revolution. But it does not 
deal with those who have not even been touched by the 
first industrial revolution, either domestically or 
internationally, and what that means. 

Second, there is reference to the challenge of 
discipline and responsibility for low income people, 
without appropriately defining who is low income, or 
stating clearly enough that the vast majority of low 
income people are disciplined and responsible. It is 
appropriate to be hard on crime and other forms of anti- 
social behavior. But the draft paper does not recognize 
that there is a simultaneous need to deal with the social 
and economic conditions faced by low income people who 
fall prey to socially pathological behavior as well as those 
who don't. 

Third, in the civil rights section there is 
appropriate reference to our traditional anti-quota 
position, and some talk about what some of us have 


viewed as a positive affirmative action program, namely 
the Recruitment and Training Program. But there is no 
discussion of the distinction between affirmative action 
and quotas, or the continuing need for affirmative action 
in the context of the changing nature of work, and the 
changing demographics of the workforce. There is no 
discussion of what form the kind of affirmative action 
that we have traditionally favored might take, today and 
in the future. 

Jim Chapin: According to Bill Galston, efficiency is 
defined as the replacement of labor by capital. 
Agriculture is efficient because there are very few 
workers producing a great deal of output. Today the 
same thing is happening in industry. But we have to 
remember that there were industrial jobs for those people 
who were being driven off the land. 

Now there is only the service economy to take in 
the industrial workers who are losing their jobs. Bill 
Galston is also a champion of "workfare," which means 
there will be many more people - all the welfare people 
-- going into those service jobs too. So will national 
volunteer service recruits. 

Bill Clinton's solution to this seems to be some 
sort of re-education and retraining, and the assumption 
that new industries like electronics and computers 
provide better jobs, an assumption which by and large is 
not true. If you actually look at the jobs available in the 
computer industry, you find there are many more low- 
level jobs than high-level jobs. 

There is a serious question -- it is a late 19th 
century question — which is where are the jobs going to 
be? A Fortune magazine article recently pointed out that 


Chinese workers are competing for the same jobs at 80 
cents an hour, and companies can easily move there. 

This is one question this paper seems to avoid. 
And in a sense this paper is a little too complacent in its 
psychological tone, because it assumes there are not 
going to be any capitalist economic crises. I think Marx 
was right about capitalism, even though he was wrong 
about socialism. Capitalism is not a stable system. 
Democracy and capitalism may go together in one sense, 
but there is certainly a latent tension there. 

If capitalism is not a stable system, a world 
capitalist economy is going to continue to have periodic 
economic crises, and the crisis of work is a major 
question. It seems to me that this paper, and specifically 
Bill Galston's presentation, have a number of 
contradictions: where are the jobs going to be? 

Bill Galston: A difficulty or a question is not the same 
thing as a contradiction. The previous speaker presented 
a difficulty but not, in my judgment, a contradiction. 

History may be instructive here. I have been a 
student of the late 19th century and the question the 
previous speaker just posed reads very much like some of 
the agitated discussions we had in this country in the 
1880s and the 1890s, when we were moving from an 
agricultural economy to an industrial economy. 

When I was a boy in the late 1950s and early 
1960s, I read a lot of popular sociology and popular 
economics. I can recall discussions of the automation 
revolution that allegedly was going to put every third 
American out of work. It didn't happen. 

It did not happen in the 1890s, it did not happen 
in the 1960s - what then is the evidence that it is going 
to happen in the next millennium? As I read the history 


of the past 100 years, there have been difficult transition 
periods. At the end of them the economy looked very 

If you read the popular discussion of those periods, 
you come to the conclusion that the world was coming to 
an end. But it didn't. So let me just return to what I 
said at the outset. It is perfectly reasonable to ask where 
the new jobs are going to come from, but it is also 
empirically necessary to observe that in a market system, 
there are possibilities of innovation, entrepreneurship 
and surprising developments that offer answers to 
economic problems that no central planner could possibly 
have thought of. 

Bert Seidman: I would like to emphasize the 
importance of developing a popular base supporting the 
achievement of the various goals of this group. It seems 
that we saw the development of just such a popular base, 
largely unorganized, with very little connection to 
traditional institutions that have produced popular bases 
in the past, during this election. We should be thinking 
about how we can get popular support. Let me just 
mention one problem, that Al Shanker stressed, namely 
that government makes mistakes, either because those 
leading it make mistakes, or the wrong people bear 
influence. There isn't much of a popular base demanding 
that they do the right thing now. We should be thinking 
about this* 

Bill Galston: I want to thank Bert Seidman for 
reminding us that we just had an election in this country. 
Many groups like this in the mid-1980s asked themselves 
not what should be done in the abstract, but how they 
could relate to an actually existing government that 


might be sympathetic to some of their ideas. There are 
those today who might be interested in the question of 
how the kind of popular base you have been discussing is 
not just created, but sustained. 

It is not easy to characterize the President in any 
single sentence or paragraph. He is Whitmanesque, he 
embraces multitudes, even contradictions. But there is 
the basis for a productive dialogue with his 

Penn Kemble: I want to refer back to a problem Al 
Shanker raised. Our predicament is that if we call on 
government to respond to certain problems, then we have 
to be absolutely confident that there will be a vigorous 
politics that holds government to account and ensures 
that when government does things that run contrary to 
the public interest, there will be an immediate reaction 
from an organized and popular constituency that will 
bring government back into line. 

One of the reasons I would offer for why we have 
had so many difficulties with government in the past 20 
years, is that a kind of social democratic majority 
emerges in this country at election times, but has been 
disenfranchised in certain fundamental ways by the 
polarization of our political culture. 

The breakdown of what Scoop Jackson used to call 
the democratic center that began in the mid-1960s 
allowed government to break free from bonds of 
accountability that prevented many of the problems Al 
Shanker cites in describing how counterproductive 
government has at times become. 

The problem has been compounded by those on 
the right who are so eager to frustrate government, who 
agitate for tax cuts in irresponsible ways, and who 


obstruct government from doing what broad majorities 
want government to do. We have been through a terrible 
political breakdown in the country, and I think we see 
the glimmerings of possibility that this can be overcome. 
But it can be overcome only if we can recreate the kind 
of political vitality that can hold government to account 
as it goes forward* 

If that strong political culture is not recreated, 
then President Clinton is going to have a terrible time. 
The reforms he is proposing will not be adopted, or, if 
they are adopted, they will very quickly go off track, or be 
undermined. ♦ 



Rita Freedman 

Martin Sklar 

Paul Starr 

Rita Freedman 

X start with the assumption that we are inter- 
ested in discussing and affecting our economic system 
because we want to improve the lives of the greatest 
number of our citizens. The first question for us to try to 
answer is what system best accomplishes that, and with 
the fewest unwanted side effects. The command economy 
was never an option for us. First of all, because the 
unwanted side effects were clearly and simply unaccep- 
table. And also because, despite all of the propaganda, it 
was one of the worst systems for both expanding the 
economy and improving people's lives. In the end, it 
collapsed under the weight of these and so many other 

But does the collapse of the command economy 
necessarily mean that liberal capitalism is the only 
alternative? And what type of capitalism are we in fact 
talking about? Our economic system has clearly evolved 
and continues to change. Capitalism here in the United 
States, let alone in other countries around the world, is 


not the same as the capitalism in the days of our grand- 
parents or even in the days of many of our parents. Are 
we now, to paraphrase Francis Fukuyama, at the end of 
economic history? Or is this just another stage in our 
economic evolution that will eventually doom capitalism, 
just as prior economic systems were doomed? Will there 
be capitalism at the end of the road, or will capitalism 
evolve into some form of democratic socialism or a mix of 
socialist and capitalist elements? And what, in the end, 
is the progressive political response to all of these 
transformations? ♦ 

Martin Sklar 

Martin Sklar, a professor of history at Bucknell 
University, is the author of numerous articles and several 
books, the most recent of which are Corporate 
Reconstruction of American Capitalism, 1890-1916, and 
The United States as a Developing Country, Mr, Sklar 
was the principal organizing editor o/Studies on the Left, 
one of the first New Left magazines, and from 1976-79, he 
was one of the organizing editors of In These Times. He 
was also an advisor to Socialist Revolution (now renamed 
Socialist Review). 

JL am here before you as an historian and an unre- 
pentant socialist, not as an economist. I hope that what 
I have to say will stimulate some further thinking in 
somewhat, though not completely, different channels. 
First, let me congratulate those who wrote the draft 
statement. It is a fine statement, both in terms of the 


principles it involves, its formulations, and the openness 
for stimulating further thinking. 

The way we understand the world is critical to the 
way we act in it. We're saying that we are trying to 
change the world in certain ways for the better. But 
we're thinking still in many of the old ways, suited to the 
past. As perhaps the greatest of modern revolutionaries, 
Abraham Lincoln, said, "As our case is new, so we must 
think anew. Let us disenthrall ourselves," he said in his 
second annual address to Congress, "from the dogmas of 
the past.' 1 But Lincoln was a great historical thinker. 
The disenthrallment at the same time must not make us 
feel that we can escape history. Among the ideas 
holding us enthralled are the idea of capitalist exception- 
alism, or even ahistoricality, and its cognate, the idea of 
the global triumph of capitalism. That the U.S., unlike 
Europe, Asia, Africa, or Latin America, has historically 
evolved devoid of socialism, and that with the collapse of 
communism, there is no stopping its global spread. On 
the other hand, there is the old Leninist idea that 
socialism is virtually identical with such things as 
government ownership, the vanguard party, state com- 
mand and its variants or attenuations. 

The draft paper states: "Capitalism has emerged 
supreme, sweeping away all its predecessors and even its 
self-described successors. Capitalism is the freest and 
most productive economic system mankind has devel- 
oped." The openness of mind here for leftists and us 
socialists is admirable. But I would like to suggest its 
static deficiency from an historical standpoint, which, 
however open it first appears, closes our minds to new 
paths of thinking. Let me try to suggest what I have in 
mind by schematically describing capitalism on the one 
hand, and socialism on the other. 


Capitalism has been associated with the employer 
as private investor and labor as a factor of production, 
and by commutatative justice prevailing with negative 
work incentives. Property rights in a market system 
define and limit human rights and as capitalism develops 
historically, so too does intensification of class differenc- 
es, not simply income differences, Liberty and efficiency 
are ranged against equality and justice as the condition 
of development. 

Socialism involves the following components: 

• Making the market socially accountable and 
socially responsible; 

• Kegulating, modifying, remedying or displacing 
market behavior and outcome by social policy politically 
determined, that is by the sphere determined by one 
person one vote rather than by the sphere determined by 
one dollar one vote; 

• Distributive justice complements and modifies 
commutative justice. Labor is seen not just as a factor of 
production but of consisting of workers as citizens, with 
positive work incentives instead of only negative incen- 

• Human rights are seen as reshaping and in- 
creasingly defining property rights; 

• The citizen associational stake in society in- 
creasingly refashions and displaces the property stake, as 
the preponderant authority in society; 

• Associational investment serving social needs com- 
plements mere private investment for personal gain; 

• Public investment based on social goals redirects, 
complements or displaces private investment; 

• A non-profit sector of society grows, as does 
gainfully employed activity for social service, policy 


formation, and ministering to needs, and indeed creating 
new needs; 

• Liberty and equality, liberty and efficiency, and 
equality and justice are seen as conditions of develop- 
ment, rather than as ranged against one another or 
mutually exclusive. 

U.S. society has developed along both lines in the 
20th century. With the emergence of the corporate stage 
of capitalism, U.S. society since the early 20th century, 
has evolved as a mix of capitalism and socialism. The 
two are intertwined and serve 
one another. And the cor- 
poration itself is an embodi- 
ment of that mix, to be re- 
garded not as a capitalist 
ogre to be slain, but as a 
democratic and socializing 

Bill Clinton's election is of 
significance because the Clin- 
ton-Gore axiom was 'people 
first.' 1 This is a very good 

embodiment of the mix, that is people as the major re- 
source and major outlet for investment growth and op- 
portunity, human rights and human development as 
paramount, especially in the new technological age. It 
embodies the idea that corporations as associations of 
people need not be considered as the capitalist enemy but 
as a social resource. It embodies the idea of accessing 
abundance for all and removing obstructions to that 
access. It embodies the idea of finding and recognizing 
limits and thereby avoiding the improper, wasteful or 
inequitable use of resources, the environment and wealth. 


And finally, it embodies the concept of putting together 
a civic ethic of work, public service, individual rights and 

In summary, both capitalism and socialism, each 
regarded as great social movements in history, as forms 
of property relations and broader social relations as well 
of power and authority, have made the modern world, the 
U,S. no less than elsewhere. But it is time to disenthrall 
ourselves of the idea that they are simply enemies, or 
mutually exclusive or one succeeding to the other. But to 
recognize instead that historically, whether we like it or 
not, they are interconnected, intersecting, intermeshing, 
complementary in their conflict and mutually in need one 
of the other. Then we can re-form our thoughts as 
citizens, as socialists, going beyond the older, static 
categories of capitalism and socialism, and begin making 
the new synthesis in ideas and programs necessary and 
proper to contribute usefully, to taking up tasks beckon- 
ing in this new era of history now upon us. 

Finally, an alignment of liberal, or shall we say social 
capitalists and liberal socialists has been the great 
progressive force in the world's modern developments. 
The much noted gridlock of recent years has represented 
the temporary weakening, and in many cases the sever- 
ing, of that alignment. The Clinton victory represents 
the rejuvenation of that alignment. This is the central 
meaning of the *92 election. Let us make the most of 
it. ♦ 


Paul Starr 

Paul Starr is a professor of sociology at Princeton Univer- 
sity and co-editor of The American Prospect, a liberal 
quarterly concerned with public policy. An expert in 
health care, he authored The Social Transformation of 
American Medicine and The Logic of Health Care 
Reform, and runs a project called "Choice Alternatives; 
Strategies for Universal Health Insurance and Managed 
Competition." Professor Starr also writes on American 
politics and social policy, the privatization of public 
services and the communications media. 

L he title of this session poses the question Social 
Democracy or Liberal Capitalism? It seems to presume 
that there is an important distinction. My initial reac- 
tion is that there isn't really an important distinction. I 
read through this very intelligent, interesting, well- 
written document and found hardly anything to disagree 
with from a liberal point of view. I'm not sure why there 
needs to be something different called social democracy 
at this point in American history. 

Are these terms really good predictors of actual 
positions? To the American ear, the term social democ- 
racy sounds a bit more left than liberal. Of course, the 
positions taken by many people associated with this 
group have not been to the left of liberals. In some cases, 
they have been to the right. My co-editor, Bob Kuttner, 
would like to preserve the idea that there is something 
distinct called social democracy, at least partially distinct 
from liberalism. And when I wrote "Liberalism After 
Socialism" for the Pall 1991 issue of The American 
Prospect, he had some differences with it, since I didn't 


seem to exempt social democracy from the criticism that 
I levelled at socialism* But I suspect that my liberalism 
is closer to the substance of this document than he may 
be, at least in some sections, like foreign policy and 
multiculturalism. So I don't know if these concepts really 
do predict very well what specific positions people who 
associate with them will actually take on the important 
issues of our time. 

I think part of what is going on here is a kind of 
brand differentiation, Amitai Etzioni has a brand called 
communitarianism. I wonder why he is out selling this 
separate brand, and again, occasionally drawing distinc- 
tions between liberalism and communitarianism that I 
don't think have much foundation. 

From the point of view of the American public, this is 
all a debate that is occurring among liberals as they use 
the term conventionally. There is a certain amount of 
what the sociologist Georg Zimmel called "the narcissism 
of small differences" at work here, where we draw very 
sharp distinctions and then vex each other over these 
issues. But in fact, from the point of view of the public 
at large, these are not all that material. 

There's also a troubled relationship to the past. 
Among social democrats, a troubled relationship to the 
socialist past, not necessarily to communism, but cer- 
tainly to the history of socialist planning. And inciden- 
tally, in this document, I did not see any celebration of 
planning, which a social democratic document of years 
ago would certainly have elevated to a very prominent 
place. This is an example of the liberalization of social 
democracy, if you will, and the gradual dropping of a lot 
of the elements that were associated with socialism. A 
troubled relationship to the past also in part because a 
lot of different groups would like to get out from under 


the taint that liberalism has acquired. They would like 
to shed some of that burden. Al Shanker brought up 
examples of social programs gone awry. We have to 
accept that burden and try to do something about it. 
There is no point in inventing a new language that the 
American people will not understand. Terms like com- 
munitarianism that people will mistake for communism. 

And social democracy 
which they will mis- 
take for socialism. I 
don't see this as really 
being relevant to the 
language of American 
politics as it is actual- 
ly used. 

There is a need to 
face up to the full 
burden of what has 
happened in the last 
several years. It does 
seem a cruel injustice 
to those who were 
always opposed to the 
command economies of the East to find themselves in any 
way implicated in their fall. But there's been a coinci- 
dence of several different developments that have 
brought disrepute on the socialist idea in general. It is 
partly a matter of the sheer magnitude of the collapse in 
Europe and the Soviet Union and the realization of how 
little developed these countries were. How the industries 
left behind are exact examples of what liberal capitalists 
have long charged. That they were in fact loaded bureau- 
cracies incapable of competing on the world market, and 
they are now essentially being disassembled. The plan- 


ned economy was a total fiasco, ecologically as well as 

It is difficult to escape from the burden of that 
experience, as well as the failure to reform communism 
from within. Frequent efforts were made, especially in 
more recent years, that ultimately lead Eastern Euro- 
peans, intellectuals included, to decide that there was no 
third way as a route to development. In the Third World 
as well, other attempts at a third way, at socialist and 
social democratic experiments, did not bring the results 
anticipated. Then finally there was the drift of European 
socialist parties and governments increasingly in a liberal 
direction. If I may quote just one line that is particularly 
relevant to this meeting from the article I wrote: "Al- 
though European social democrats have Marxist grand- 
parents on their family tree, they have largely outgrown 
not just marxism but socialism itself, and accepted, 
wisely I believe, political ideals and social and economic 
institutions that have a more liberal character." I take 
that to be evident in this document as well, with the final 
statement that Martin Sklar cited, that is essentially an 
acceptance of capitalism. In fact, it is hard for me to see 
how you can see yourselves as fundamentally different 
from liberals if you have come that far. 

So I don't see the point of preserving these distinc- 
tions. And I am less and less convinced that there is any 
relevance to the concept of "the left" at all any more. 
We've gotten used to talking that way. Well continue to 
talk that way. But I don't see any real force out there 
that represents the left today. The problems that we face 
are very real ones. And there are many problems with 
a capitalist economy that need to be addressed. Many of 
the specific reforms we need are just the kind that 
Martin Sklar suggested. These are problems of the 


design of institutions, including markets. It's not just a 
matter of government regulating markets. The discus- 
sion paper refers to the need to regulate the health care 
industry. Actually, that's much too conservative a notion 
of what we need. We need to reconstruct the market, in 
a very fundamental way. 

Yes, it is important to uphold some of the values 
represented here. For example, the value of the labor 
movement, which I very strongly support. A lot of people 
don't share that, and they need to understand the 
importance of that tradition. But when we confront the 
problems in education, in health care, and other areas, 
we need to learn a lot about the specifics. Ideology is not 
a key that unlocks every door. The traditions that were 
essentially ideological traditions were based on the 
premise that that was the way you preceded. You had 
some kind of ideological key that unlocked one door after 
another. That is what needs to come to an end* ♦ 


Sam Leiken 

Larry Mishel 

Lynn Williams 

Michael Novak 


Sam Leiken 

X his is a panel on recent trends in the economy: 
namely, the globalization of manufacturing, commerce 
and finance, the changing nature of technology, the new 
social relations in the workplace, the increasing 
concentration of wealth and the role government and the 
market play in facing these new circumstances. 

We have asked our three speakers to do the 
impossible: to talk about economics in practical terms, 
and to discuss what policies will best improve the wages, 
working conditions and living standards of the poor, 
working poor and middle class in the United States and 
around the world, ♦ 



Larry Mishel 

Larry Mishel, the research director of the Economic Policy 
Institute (EPI), specializes in the fields of productivity, 
competitiveness, income distribution, labor markets, and 
training and human resource policies. He is the author 
and co-author of various EPI publications, including "The 
State of Working America/' "Shortchanging Education" 
and most recently "The Myth of the Coming Labor 
Shortage" and "The State of Working America, 1922-93. " 
He has also published in a variety of academic and non- 
academic journals. 

IVly points are simple. If you evaluate the 
performance of an economy in terms of the living 
standards it provides, then we have been doing very 
poorly. A measurable, significant part of these income 
and wage problems derive from our trade problems. If 
you look at the overall solution to our economic problems, 
an important component must deal with trade. 

It is well known that our standard of living has 
fared poorly. Family income has grown modestly overall. 
But for most Americans, if their incomes are slightly 
higher, it is primarily because more people in the family 
are working, or working more hours per year. The 
fundamental problem is that wages have fared very 
poorly. The bottom 80% of the work force experienced a 
wage decline over the past 10-12 years. Over the past 
five years, not only blue collar workers or workers with 
high school degrees experienced falling wages, but college 
graduates and white collar workers suffered wage 

The most significant number deals with wages of 
a young man graduating high school. That young man, 
after five years in the work force, was earning about 26% 
less in 1991 than a comparable worker in 1979 and over 
30% less than a comparable worker in 1973. One 
conclusion is that the policies of the Reagan-Bush era ~ 
deregulation, free trade, privatization, anti-unionism ~ 
did not improve the standard of living of most Americans. 
It is also true that they did not produce any surge in 
productivity or private investment, and, if carefully 
examined, did not create any superior job growth. 

What does trade have to do with all this? 
According to the economic studies, trade accounts for 
between 25% and 30% of these problems. It is important 
to understand the mechanisms. It is not just that people 
have been thrown out of the manufacturing sector, and 
have ended up with jobs that paid far less. It is also true 
that those people who remain in the tradable goods 
sector, like manufacturing, have had significant pressure 
on their wages, and have either had to take wage cuts or 
keep their wage increases below inflation. 

Young people cannot get the good jobs that have 
been eliminated. Those who used to have good jobs are 
now competing in other parts of the economy, driving 
down wages for workers with similar skills. Our 
competitiveness problems also result in a falling dollar, 
which also squeezes our incomes. 

The framework of Clintonomics provides most of 
what is necessary for economic revival. It is frequently 
said that we need to go on a high-wage, high-skill road. 
But we are already on the low-wage road, and without it 
making us more competitive. The high-wage road 
essentially has the following components: modernize 
manufacturing, use appropriate technology (not only the 


hardware but also human resource policies: training and 
worker participation), enhance public investment, 
strengthen private investment, and deal with deficits 
without letting them rule everything. 

There are two ways to pursue a low-wage road. 
One is the domestic way, and it is pursued by services 
and manufacturing companies alike: use part-time 
workers without benefits, use 
temporary contingent work- 
ers, use child labor, demand 
wage concessions and bust 

The second is an 
international low-wage path 
that involves moving pro- 
duction off-shore. This is 
where trade comes in. One 
should think about trade with 
regard to four different kinds 
of countries. There is com- 
petition with other advanced countries with wages higher 
than ours ~ Europe primarily. There is a separate trade 
problem that has to do with Japan. There is another set 
of trade problems that has to do with newly 
industrialized countries — which includes East Asian 
countries like Korea and China, but also Mexico and 
Brazil* And there is another set of countries that does 
not present a trade problem for us: the poor, developing 

In each of these cases, trade policy should be 
driven by a concern for our living standards. But trade 
policy also has to fit with the entire framework of our 
economic policy: what kind of industries do we want, how 


are we going to get competitive? Industrial policy drives 
trade policy, not the other way around. 

Most of us believe that markets need to operate 
within a certain social framework. I believe that is true 
of international markets as well: they should not to be 
exempted as many economists seem to believe. I see 
some problems that confront us that need a certain 
amount of care. Many of our industries have serious 
excess capacity, like steel. One way or another, other 
countries are going to jockey to take away that 
production. If we do not take care to see that they don't, 
then we will end up losing -- the outcome of a laissez 
faire practice. 

There are also questions about arrangements like 
the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). 
Are there better or worse ways to reach a deal there? We 
are probably going to integrate economically with Mexico 
one way or another. How should this take place: with a 
big sucking sound of jobs leaving the U.S., as Ross Perot 
says, lowering our wages down to Mexican levels? Or, 
alternatively, with the U.S. trying to manage our trade 
in a way that attempts to bring Mexicans up to our 
levels? ♦ 

Lynn Williams 

Lynn Williams began his term as president of the United 
Steelworkers of America in 1983 as organized labor was 
confronted with the enormous challenges of a dramatic 
decline in industrial jobs. He has taken steps to 
restructure his union by creating a Future Directions of 
the Union Committee. He is an advocate of workplace 
participation initiatives to give workers greater input in 


the workplace, of employee stock ownership plans, and of 
the multi-company Career Development Institute, offering 
job training and educational services for union members 
and families. He also serves on the AFL-CIO Executive 
Council, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Council on 
Competitiveness, and the Commission on Workforce 

X would first like to compliment those who put 
the social democrats 1 paper together, I thought it was 
very interesting and challenging, I would like to 
associate myself with the notion that social democracy 
represents a set of ideas whose time has come. We have 
the collapse of the command economies on the one side. 
But performance in the home of capitalism in America in 
the last dozen years doesn't give us much encouragement 
either. Whether one thinks of what we need as 
moderating the extremes of capitalism or expanding 
liberalism, there is a desperate need in the world for the 
ideas of social democracy. 

My particular charge here is to talk about the 
changing nature of work, the source of high-wage jobs, 
and what is going on in the real economy. The paper 
quite correctly speaks about a second industrial 
revolution or a third industrial revolution. Incredible 
changes are going on in the workplace, and at the heart 
of them is enormous change in our technologies. The 
technological revolution never seems to slow down, but 
always to speed up. The dramatic changes in the things 
we can do, and the kind of equipment there is to use, has 
changed our workplaces dramatically and continues to at 
an ever increasing pace. I would like to make a few 


straightforward points about that revolution, and how we 
react to it, 

The first is our very strong view that 
manufacturing matters. That idea was hammered very 
vigorously at the beginning of the 1980s when the view 
was that we didn't need to worry about old industries or 
rust belt industries. High tech was going to save us; the 
information economy was going to save us. We heard: 
look at those terrible steel companies and steel workers 
and the dumb things they did; look at IBM - that is the 
model for the future. We complained that there are more 
fundamental problems involved than that simplistic 
analysis would suggest. And you are reading about it in 
the newspapers today. It is terrible to be a successful 
prophet because obviously we do not wish any ill on the 
workers at IBM or the other places that are struggling 
with the same things we have been struggling with for 
the last dozen years. 

Manufacturing does matter. I don't see how you 
can have a strong economy if you can't create wealth, if 
you can't take raw materials and make something of 
them that people want, that are useful, here and abroad, 
and that contribute to the quality of life. It is obvious 
that as technology moves forward, manufacturing 
industries are not going to employ as many people. But 
I would point to the agricultural model. We have a 
powerhouse of an agricultural industry in the U.S. -- it 
feeds the whole world. It doesn't employ many people, it 
works very efficiently, but it does provide the base for 
many related jobs. And if you are thinking about a 
service economy or an information economy, it needs to 
serve something, it needs to provide information about 
something, and the heart of wealth creation is 



Secondly, the new manufacturing systems are very 
sensitive. New technology is not some miracle that does 
not need workers and so workers do not matter any 
more. I look at the GM model, Roger Smith's great 
contribution to development in America. He tried that, 
and he wasted billions of dollars. GM had to retreat and 
go back to basics, realizing that to really take advantage 

of a new technological system 
you need a highly skilled, 
highly trained workforce. 
These are very sensitive 
systems and when they 
collapse, those robots do not 
know what to do* You need 
some human workers around 
with intelligence and training 
who know how to deal with 

Third, technology does 
offer some options. We have 
all been raised in an atmosphere where, because of the 
technological miracles in our parents' and our life-times, 
we have an idea that technology arrives from heaven full 
blown and we must adapt ourselves to whatever this 
technology does, I would argue that technology presents 
options to us. We can have technology that is destructive 
of human opportunity and human skill. Alternatively, we 
can take the same technology and build into it real 
opportunities for workers to learn new skills, to advance 
and to achieve high wages. And, at the end of the day, 
use the technology much more effectively. 

These new technologies invite and require a new 
way of thinking about the organization of work. This is 
not a simple concept for those of us in the labor 



"' .'JB 

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movement to grapple with. It's important to recognize 
that the old Taylorist ideas — the assembly line, breaking 
up every job into the minimum component, the idea that 
the boss therefore had to know everything, the 
engineering department had to make all the big 
decisions, and all the worker did was park his brains at 
the time clock, go out on the assembly line and perform 
a minimum task ~ were not dreamed up by workers. It 
was not what workers wanted. When my predecessor 
union was destroyed in 1892 in Homestead, 
Pennsylvania, in one of the historic moments in the 
American labor movement, it was destroyed because 
Carnegie and Frick couldn't bear the fact that workers 
had a great deal of control over the process. 
Steelworkers controlled the processes in the steel plants, 
in those days the most modern plants: they hired other 
workers and they led other workers. It wasn't the 
workers who changed to the Taylor model; it was 
imposed on them by Taylor and Frick and the like. And 
it was done in a culture that puts us out of work 
everytime there is a recession. 

So workers and their unions tried to use the 
Taylorist model to say, okay if that is what you're going 
to do, and if my job is just this little piece, then I'm going 
to get some seniority protection for that job. We need 
new models of work organization where workers can 
participate, where they can really be involved. And we 
need to do this within a framework of some employment 

Fourth, real worker involvement and 
empowerment involves much more than helping the boss 
do things properly in the shop. WeVe learned that the 
inadequacies of capitalism, the inadequacies of bosses in 
an authoritarian structure don't exist just on the shop 


floor, they exist throughout the enterprise. And we have 
lost a great many jobs because in the executive suite, 
they were not nearly as smart or as well prepared as 
they should have been. We believe workers are entitled 
to, and have a right to a voice at every level in the 
enterprise from the shop floor to the board of directors, 
since they suffer most when the enterprise or the 
economy fails. And they are taking the biggest beating 
in terms of standards of living. 

Finally, from our perspective, unions are not a 
problem in terms of the circumstances we face in our 
society - they are part of the solution. One of the great 
competitive disadvantages that burdens America in 
today's global economy is the enormous hostility of the 
American system to the labor movement. Consequently, 
the labor movement in America, instead of being able to 
make a positive contribution as it does in Europe, and 
especially Germany, is fighting for its life. It is always 
fighting for its life in terms of union organizing. It is 
struggling in terms of collective bargaining, because if 
you exercise your right to strike, the most fundamental 
right of all, you are fired. You are not fired directly, 
because that is against the law, but you are fired 
nonetheless, because the employer can hire a permanent 
replacement and you never get your job back. So why 
should the union ever settle a struggle? That is why you 
see these terrible, unconditional surrenders as with 
Eastern Airlines, where the union simply has no option 
but to fight until the end and it destroys the boss or the 
boss capitulates. Sometimes the union is destroyed as 
well. But there is no point in making a settlement if the 
scabs are the ones who benefit, not the workers who are 
trying to achieve some level of decency. ♦ 


Michael Novak 

Michael Novak currently holds the George 
Frederick Jewett Chair in Religion and Public Policy at 
the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy, where 
he also serves as director of social and political studies. 
His studies on religion engage questions of public life, 
political economy, education and self-knowledge. Mr. 
Novak, who has served in both Democratic and 
Republican administrations, has written many articles 
and essays and over 20 books, including the highly 
influential The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism. As 
Ambassador, he headed the U.S. delegation to the United 
Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, and to the 
Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. 

L started out as a Social Democrat, and over the 
last ten years on many of the most important battles we 
faced in this country, I was fighting with many of those 
in this room. So I'm very grateful to be invited here, and 
I'm glad to come back for a "gut check," if you will. 

It struck me in reading the paper and in listening 
to the discussion this morning that it might be useful to 
think of social democrats as representatives less of 
ideology than of a very important tradition of t hink ing 
and of language. In other words, it is a history of 
concerns, and of inspirations and of ways of analysis. As 
events have changed, your changes in philosophy are 
called for. And one can see those changes reflected in the 
discussion paper. 

In terms of the practical questions we are 
attempting to address, there is still a bit of unresolved 
business that has to do with the exact analysis of what 


the capitalist system is. There is still a tendency to think 
about the capitalist system in the terms that Mars set 
forth and in the terms of the socialist tradition. 
Entertain for a moment the possibility that the analysis 
misfired. It never quite captured the heart of the 
American experiment, which is the capitalist experiment 
par excellence. 

I want to point out three errors which are 
repeated in the discussion paper, which has so many good 
things in it and so many things that would reach a wider 
audience. One of these errors 
is the notion that is rooted in 
the labor theory of value, that 
it is labor that gives the 
impetus, I would have 
thought that it is mind. 
Mind often applied as labor. 
If you ask what is the simple 
answer to Adam Smith's 
question "what is the cause of 
the wealth of nations?", put 
in one word, it is kaput — 
head ~ mind. The capacity 

for invention and discovery. The problems that Lynn 
Williams dealt with so well spring from invention, 
discovery. At the heart of this system is kaput. We can 
predict that in 10 to 15 years, there will be another 
whole turn to the technological revolution, making life as 
different as ours is today from that of 20 or 40 years ago. 
If that is true, then I would want to argue along with 
Lynn that we need to pay a lot more attention to 
continuing with education and workplace education, 
enhancement of human capital, enhancement of the mind 



of every person throughout the system. That is the real 
cause of wealth. 

Second, there is a tendency in the U.S. to see 
capitalism here as a culture of individualism. I think 
that is not true. It doesn't hit the target. Each of my 
three children, before they were five, belonged to more 
organizations and activities and went to more meetings 
than my wife and I together could drive them to. Our 
children are not rugged individuahsts; they are made for 
community, for participation, for commonality, for joining 
up with others. That is the most distinctive trait of 
Americans, wherever you find them around the world. 
And it is very much in the tradition of social democratic 
speech. It is a better expression of it than European 
socialist language ever was, because it's free and 
voluntary -- and remarkable. Americans have always 
done things by joining together. The whole trick in 
founding civilization on this continent was building 
communities, building cities where there were no cities, 
building corporations and the rest. The primary 
invention of capitalism was not individualism, it was 
corporation, and the stock associations, and its vision was 
global from the very beginning ~ the world of nations. 
The Socialist International is not the only course with an 
international vision. We*re beginning to see it realized -- 
one universal market. 

Finally, it is a mistake to think that capitalism is 
about laissez faire. It is not even true about Adam 
Smith. Adam Smith had a list of about 16 different 
functions the state needs to perform including education, 
which involves far more spending and far more activity 
than he ever contemplated. Since the beginning the 
government of these United States has been very active 
in the promotion of commerce, industry and the land 
grant colleges. Why would there be new territories built 


around colleges except that the cause of wealth is brains, 
invention, discovery? It is in the heads of farmers and 
workers. Hie development of this kind of human capital 
is crucial and that is why this became the first developed 
country. And these things are done by an act of 
Congress. It is not against the American system to use 
government along with private invention and private 
discovery to make a richer civic society than was found 
anywhere else. The people of France do not have the 
experiences of engaging in associations to put up colleges, 
schools and hospitals that all Americans seem to 
exemplify. They took their problems to the state. 

We are the originators of that rich life of a civic 
society. So there is a perfectly accessible American 
language. We*re talking about the twin poles of our 
system, which from the beginning have been political 
economy. Both things, a polity, a government as well as 
civil society, even more important than government, and 
secondly a vital, dynamic, changing economy. You don't 
have to be a socialist or in the social democratic tradition 
to invoke an activist element and the use of government 
to promote the welfare of the people and aspects of the 
economy. We have done it all through our history, ♦ 


Sam Leiken: The first question is addressed to Michael 
Novak. In your remarks you said that laissez faire is not 
in our tradition, that government has in fact regulated 
and initiated. How would you apply that to trade policy? 

Michael Novak: The first people looking for protection 
were textile manufacturers. Now the semi-conductor 
people are looking for protection, as are the auto 


companies. I see an ideal of open, fair and free trade. 
But we live in a world in which trade is very unfr ee, and 
where there are management restrictions of many kinds, 
whether for a particular region or industry, and we have 
to deal in both worlds simultaneously* I think the ideal 
is open trade. But it doesn't exist and so there is going 
to be political jockeying. We want to move towards 
reducing restraints in trade but we have to watch out for 
other interests simultaneously. 

Sam Leiken: I have a follow-up question for Michael 
Novak. The paper calls for giving human rights issues 
the same weight as issues like freedom from 
expropriation in trade negotiations. What do you think 
of that? 

Michael Novak: The United States is safer and better 
off in every way in a world in which human rights are 
respected. I would like to help educate people in 
business as well as in government to that fact. Business 
people are often trained not to think about anything 
beyond the business consideration, and they are 
considered soft-headed not to do that. That is a terrible 
mistake. A capitalist economy is a necessary but not 
sufficient condition for the growth of democracy and for 
the respect of human rights. We have also learned in 
Singapore and in Chile that democracy is a necessary 
condition for the long-term health of capitalism. You 
cannot solve the problems of succession or long-term 
investment if you do not have democracy. A culture of 
human rights is the only real soil in which both 
democracy and capitalism thrive. And it is in our 
political, economic and cultural interest to work for that 
everywhere we go and in every institution in society. We 


have not learned that lesson as a society. We think of 
human rights sometimes as a piety, and in some acute 
political areas as a cause, but not across the board as a 
common ordinary nurture that we should be supplying 
everywhere. It would help us economically, politically 
and morally. 

Sam Leiken: The American labor movement has been 
opposed to command economies and totalitarianism. It 
is also a supporter of managed trade. How do these 

Lynn Williams: I put the trade question in a number of 
contexts. One is the idea of fairness. If you are 
struggling for open trade to the extent that it can be 
achieved, most of the items that require us to move in a 
more managed direction are questions of fairness. For 
example, in terms of steel, the American economy has 
been much more open than other economies. Throughout 
the '80s when there was tremendous over-capacity on a 
global basis, the European Community restricted imports 
to about 10 to 11% with a series of voluntary restraint 
agreements (VRA's) and similar arrangements. The 
Japanese restricted imports to a level of 3 or 4%. The 
American market, until it reached crisis proportions in 
the 1980s and achieved a VRA in 1984, was up to 23-24% 
in import penetration levels and it went as high as 30%. 
We were being devastated by plant shutdowns and the 
loss of jobs. So fairness is a major element in this. 
Fairness is also involved with NAFTA, where we are 
trying to have an open trading arrangement with a 
country where wages are one-tenth of ours. Contrast this 
to the much more careful approach of the European 
community to the same kinds of issues — where it had to 


deal with Spain, Portugal and Turkey, but with a much 
lower level of differentiation. Fairness is a human rights 
question. Should we buy toys from China when we know 
the conditions under which most of those have been 

The other question is that of an industrial policy. 
Trade does not exist in vacuum. If we are concerned 
about maximizing the accomplishments of our society and 
making it the best society it can be* both in national and 
in global terms, we need an industrial policy. We need 
some general strategy, some idea where we are going. 
What kinds of industries are we trying to build, what 
kinds are out of date, how do we put this together? 
There is much criticism of planning as government 
intervention. Michael spoke quite positively of the 
understanding we have in America on the use of 
government. But in the last 12 years there has been an 
enormous attack on the use of government. People have 
been encouraged to think that government can do 
nothing and you should not pay any taxes. You should 
not have any focus on where you are trying to go. I think 
that is anarchy and we are paying the price of anarchy in 
many ways. 

In a global economy, we also need some 
international policies. We need some economic 
development policies for America and for the Third 
World. The AFL-CIO is not interested in beggaring the 
Mexicans or anyone else. We all benefit from the most 
prosperous world we can achieve. We need some big 
thinkin g about how to put these sorts of ideas together. 
We have some interesting models. The Marshall Plan 
was a wonderful model, which enabled us to rebuild 
Europe, rebuild Japan and rebuild our own economy with 
something of a planned approach. We found ways to 


build their economies that made use of our productive 
capacity. If that was possible in the immediate post-war 
world, why shouldn't that be possible on a much grander 
scale with many more powerful economies in the world 
today? I am very uncomfortable viewing Europe or Japan 
or any other country that has achieved economic success 
as a threat That should be a plus. We should be able to 
bring all of that economic success together and build 
economic development programs both at home and 
abroad. That is the positive way to look at managing 
trade, not as a way of closing markets or limiting trade 
but managing trade within a framework of economic 
development programs both at home and abroad that 
expand trade and improve living standards across the 

Sam Leiken: Historically social democrats have a long 
tradition of internationalism, so any discussion of trade 
has to consider foreign workers as well as American 
workers. Isn't the creation of labor intensive industries, 
particularly in the less developed countries, a traditional 
step on the road to industrialization? And don't workers 
in those countries at least have the right to good jobs 
there, even if it means competing with American 

Michael Novak: That's the hardest question there is to 
face. If you think internationally, and you learn about 
what goes on in the Third World, then you want to see 
development there and that is going to mean industrial 
development to a point. My guess is that the best field 
for expansion in the Third World is small business. You 
can be almost sure that in Latin America, for example, 
10 years from now there will be far fewer people working 


in agriculture than there are today, just as there are far 
fewer than there were 10 years ago. I believe that you 
will see fewer people working for multinational 
corporations. There has been a lot of disinvestment in 
Latin America. The hope for the future is growth of 
small business. Present laws in most Latin American 
countries make that extremely difficult. It takes the 
equivalent of some 70 days to get a license to start a 
small business, and it takes the equivalent of $7200 in 
fees and bribes, according to Hernando de Soto. So 
people who start small businesses in Latin America are 
working as criminals. There has to be a revolution in 
that. I would very actively promote the development of 
small businesses throughout the Third World as the key 
to economic development. That is where most of the jobs 

Lynn Williams: Of course we want people around the 
world to have the best possible jobs and economic 
development. I agree with much of what Michael said. 
There is much to question about the multinational 
corporation path to economic development. They move 
into Third World countries with very high-tech, fancy 
manufacturing operations in the pursuit of a low-wage 
strategy. It's a policy of exploitation of workers. What 
Third World countries need are enterprises that employ 
lots of people, that are labor intensive, not ones that 
employ the fanciest technologies. I do not say that to 
deny the most advanced technologies to the Third World, 
but to develop appropriate industrial development 
strategies to manage these trade flows more effectively so 
we can determine what works best in the Third World, 
and what works best in an advanced country, instead of 
stumbling along and finding our way by accident. 


Economic success makes finding a solution to all 
of these problems much easier. One reason we are 
having so much trouble with these trade questions is that 
our economies are nmctioning badly and there is 
enormous unemployment in all of these countries. For 
the most ruthless exploiters it offers an opportunity to 
hammer wages down everywhere. From a worker's point 
of view, one seems to be in eternal competition with 
workers all over the world. It creates enormous friction. 
If there are successful full-employment economies, these 
changes and development can be managed much more 

President Clinton is right on target in that regard. 
The fundamental problem is to get our economy going so 
there is more purchasing power, more jobs and better 
wages. Then we can manage to do things for ourselves 
and play a more constructive role on the world scene. 

Larry Mishel: I have several problems about this 
discussion on trade with the Third World, and how we 
need to cede our low-wage, labor-intensive work to them. 
I sympathize with the internationalist sentiment. One of 
the problems is that people's definition of low-wage or 
labor-intensive comprises what three quarters of the U.S. 
work force actually does. The kind of work that goes to 
Mexico actually involves some very skilled work in 
electronics, autos and other areas. We cannot simply say 
we should cede the jobs that multinational corporations 
want to move and there will be other jobs for people here. 
That raises another problem. If we concede the 
lower rungs of the ladder, there are no higher rungs that 
we are going to. People also tend to forget that some of 
those industries we are being asked to cede, like textiles, 
are essentially industries where our own Third World 


workers are employed. What we are really being asked 
to do is to cede our Third World jobs to other Third World 
workers. It is a tough problem that has no simple 
solution. One of the simple solutions the left talks about 
is spreading labor rights to ameliorate our trade 
problems. That is a good thing to do, but it's essentially 
a human rights issue, not an economic issue. Take the 
following situation. Economists find that if you have 
unions, you raise wages 15-20%. If we compete with a 
Third World country with wages 10% of ours, and its 
workers become unionized and get better collective 
bargaining rights than we have, then their wages will be 
12Vfc% of ours. That does not significantly change the 
dynamic. But it will change over time. Those workers 
will catch up quickly to us and that is appropriate. We 
have to recognize that this is a world filled with billions 
of low-wage workers, starting in China with the very 
lowest wage workers who are now exploited by multi- 
national corporations from a variety of countries, 

I express my solidarity with Third World workers, 
but it is a human rights issue, not a significant economic 
issue. There are other ways of dealing with Third World 
development than are being practiced now. The United 
States takes in some 60% or more of the exports of the 
developing countries to the First World. Those exports 
do not go to Japan or Europe; we are the consumer of 
last resort. Are we obligated to do that? There are other 
models which include trade with the First World but also 
among the Third World which is starting to develop in 
Asia. All the goods do not have to come here. While we 
should be concerned about their development, and be 
open to the imports from these countries, there are other 
mechanisms that we ought to try as well* 


Lynn Williams: I want to respond quickly to my good 
friend Larry. I agree very much with his second point. 
My memory is that Europe takes about 22% and Japan 
about 6%, while we are taking 60% of Third World goods 
and that is a valid point. But if in the Third World labor 
rights and human rights did increase wages by the 
percentage you say unions contribute, in a macro way 
that would be an enormous increase in purchasing power 
across the world and that would surely make all these 
problems more amenable to resolution. 

I want to make that point domestically to the new 
administration: the goal of strengthening the middle 
income group in America will not be achieved without the 
labor movement. Before unionization, my industry had 
all these elements that we talk about. Carnegie and his 
like made billions of dollars, they had a very well-trained, 
skilled workforce, to run the industry and they exploited 
the dickens out of them. They worked 12-hour days, they 
worked seven-day weeks, they had child labor, they had 
no vacations, they had nothing. That did not change 
until they organized. Organizing and building a union 
made all the difference. We will not really restore our 
economy without labor unions. We can train everybody, 
we can put them in good jobs, and we can have very 
successful corporations, but if there is no counterbalance 
to the corporation's desire to maximize profit, and the 
only counterbalance in a democratic society is the labor 
movement, we will not rebuild the middle class. 

Michael Novak: One outcome of the prestige of the 
American system, the combination of democracy and 
capitalism around the world, is that we have an 
extraordinary platform internationally. In Latin 
America, small practical things just don't occur to people 


because they are not part of their tradition. If we begin 
to say important things in season and out, it will have a 
great effect in Eastern and Central Europe and in Latin 
America. For e xam ple, nobody in Latin America says 
better paid workers buy more cars. They have not had 
their Henry Ford* They have a totally different culture 
in which the state has done absolutely everything, and 
they have no tradition of what individuals can do, or 
associations of people together can do if they put their 
mind to it. We need to have a much better loudspeaker 
to put out our ideas. We need to fill the media with the 
kind of ideas that really transform societies, and we don't 
do that. 

Joel Freedman: At the risk of frightening a few people, 
let me utter the words "class struggle." The paper 
understates the redistribution of income that has 
occurred in the last 12 years. It says that there has been 
an increase for the top percentage of the population of 
77%. While that 77% is a correct figure before taxes, the 
after tax figure is 102%. At the same time, there has 
been a disembowelment of the Wagner Act. During this 
period, a considerable number of people have been fired 
for union activity. Under the current law it takes them 
several years to get their jobs back, they have deducted 
from whatever they have as their back pay any money 
they've earned during that period, and there is no 
punishment for those who have purposefully violated the 
law. These are questions of democracy that civil 
libertarians ought to have taken up but they have not. 
There has been a suggestion that there is no distinction 
between liberals and social democrats. Well this is one 
of those distinctions. The liberal establishment said 
nothing about this. In our new Labor Secretary's latest 


book there is essentially no reference to trade unions; 
There is on occasion a discussion of how other partners 
in society ought to participate in economic decision- 
making, but those partners are business partners, not 
necessarily trade union partners. I suspect more of a 
benign neglect than an antagonism. But my suggestion 
would be that by building unions, you can assure greater 
participation. To the degree that it builds industrial 
democracy and to the degree that it creates the balance 
the Wagner Act called for and reduces the class conflict 
of the last 12 years, it will be building democracy, and 
building our economy. 

Paul Starr: On the point of whether liberals have been 
concerned with the growing inequality of income, I beg to 
differ with you. It is mainly liberals who made an issue 
of it. Bill Clinton certainly made an issue of it in the 
campaign, very frequently referring to the growing gap in 
incomes. The question is what are the causes and what 
can be done about it. Part of the cause is the 
globalization of markets and it is a phenomenon that is 
taking place in Europe as well as the United States 
although not to the same degree. So it is partly a matter 
of very strong international economic forces at work that 
have put lower income people in sharper competition 
with low-wage workers overseas. But at the same time 
this globalization of markets has enlarged the market 
available to Americans with higher skills and they have 
in effect been selling their services - financial and other 
services - on the global market and reaping the rewards. 
But there is a very important ingredient of public policy 
-- of tax policy, of labor markets -- and I agree completely 
with the points the speaker made, and I t hink you will 


find that Bob Reich is a good friend of the labor 

Martin Sklar: I agree with Brother Freedman's 
remarks. I don't see how we can have a democracy 
without a free trade union movement and there can't be 
a free trade union movement if workers strike and are 
replaced. Socialists and others who are concerned about 
the trade union movement as vital to our society should 
make a high priority of labor law reform, particularly to 
change that part of the law, and put pressure on the 
administration to make as pro-union an NLRB as 

Penn Kemble: In thinking about the distinction 
between social democracy and liberalism, and listening to 
Paul Starr, I remembered Michael Harrington's comment 
on this which many of us felt was a very inciteful and 
helpful one. He described liberalism in the U.S. as a 
broad tent within which there are a number of distinctive 
threads, and the social democratic thread is a rather 
distinctive and important one. 

At the same time I get a little anxious when I 
hear it argued that people with our tradition ought to 
liquidate ourselves into this broad amorphous thing 
called liberalism. It goes back to the real experience that 
many of us had when we first became politically 
conscious in the early 1960s. Those of us who took the 
big step at that time to become democratic socialists or 
social democrats were continuously told that there was 
no need for that. In a period of a few years, we found 
ourselves plunged into controversies and divisions in this 
country in which the distinctions which our movement 
drew became extremely important. People who failed to 


draw those distinctions were drawn into some terrible 

There are a few issues in today's debate that are 
illustrative of important distinctions that justify the need 
to maintain our traditions and our own community. 
There is an important difference between those who 
invoke democratic solidarity and those who invoke a 
notion of diversity or separatism - cultural and civic 
separatism which can be very dangerous to the liberal 
values that we at least uphold. You do not see much of 
it on this panel, but if you go out into the Democratic 
Party and if you go into the Department of Commerce for 
example, you find great differences between those who 
take a free trade view and those who believe that trade 
should be integrated somehow into a concern about social 
good or social democracy. You see some real difference 
emerging even within the big tent of Clintonomics 
between the kind of managed or dirigiste approach to the 
economy and those who believe that economic 
intervention by government has to be founded on popular 
constituencies and their interests. The Wall Street 
Journal recently published some excerpts from a book by 
Laura Tyson in which she was describing the economy of 
Yugoslavia in her doctoral dissertation. It appeared that 
she did not understand that the Workers' Councils really 
had nothing to do with democratic trade unions. A 
tradition such as ours may help people understand that 
distinctions such as these have a fundamental 

John Atlas: In this lengthy discussion on the economy, 
there hasn't been any mention of one key issue. It is an 
issue that dominated discussions of economists who are 
worried about economic growth- It is the issue that 


dominated recent discussions by Clinton's economic 
advisors. It is the key issue of the recent social 
movement led by Ross Perot. That issue is the deficit. 
I would be curious how you analyze the problem. Is it a 
serious problem? How do you solve the issue of the 
deficit in relation to a high-growth, high-skill economic 
growth strategy? 

Paul Starr; There has been a growing panic based on 
forecasts on the deficit and this has raised the alarm and 
created enormous pressure to cut back the Clinton public 
investment program. If you take a look at these 
numbers, in the early years there is additional money for 
the savings and loan bailout, but for the rest of the 
decade, the single biggest cause for these rising 
projections is health care costs. In fact, by the end of the 
decade if the projections are correct, health care will go 
from 14% to 18% of the Gross National Product. If 
health care could be kept at the present level, the deficit 
would fall back as a percentage of the GNP to where it 
was in the 1960s. The President has very clearly 
understood that his ability to carry out his whole 
program depends very heavily on controlling health care 
costs. It has become the pre-condition to doing many of 
the other things that he wants to do. It would be a 
tragedy if he were to dump one part of his program, 
public investment, on the assumption that another part 
of his program, health care cost containment, will fail. 
That is what some people are asking him to do, to make 
decisions now about public investment which have very 
long-term implications on the basis of forecasts that 
assume no change in current health care policy. The two 
have to go together. 


Larry Mishel: Those who advocate austere budget 
deficit reduction as a mechanism of growth are resorting 
to pre-Keynsian economics. There are problems with 
having high deficits; they need to be reduced. However, 
reduction of deficits in and of itself will not generate 
growth, in fact it may even cause problems for growth. 
The point is to get growth and to raise standards of 
living. Deficit reduction is part of that but not the end of 
that, the way it is often discussed by Perot and my fellow 

Nancy Mills: I first have a comment and then a 
question. The comment is that it is not just for-profit 
corporations that seek to depress wages. As unionization 
within the public sector has expanded to the rates that it 
used to be in the economy as a whole, the public sector is 
acting like any profit-greedy corporation, seeking to 
economize by privatization. And privatization not simply 
in an attempt to seek more innovative, creative ways of 
producing services but to employ workers without giving 
them health insurance or pensions. Unionization that is 
confined only to one sector of the economy creates that 
same flight to seek lower costs in the form of human 
misery, be it in the public or the private sector. 

My question is related to that. It is not an 
accident that the public sector is the leading part of our 
economy that is unionized. Public sector workers are 
becoming the steelworkers of the labor movement. What 
do we need to do to expand unionization? Yes, it is true 
that the firing of pro-union workers is a cause of the 
slow spread of unionization. But isn't it also true that 
the response of the labor movement to the Taylorist 
forms of production has meant that we spend 95 cents 
out of every dollar on servicing our membership? We 


have to make sure that we give our existing membership 
the seniority rights to that lateral transfer. We get 
involved in the most minute details of the relationship 
between employer and employee. What can we do to 
stimulate more resources within the labor movement for 
organizing? Would it not be advantageous for liberals and 
social democrats in the labor movement to be thinking 
about much thinner documents, much thinner collective 
bargaining agreements that deal simply with wages and 
benefits and step back from our micro-managing the 
relationship between employer and worker? 

Lynn Williams: First, let me express my enthusiasm 
for public sector organizations and growth* The 
steelworkers are still here, we are not quite replaced. 
Nevertheless, there is no question that in terms of 
preserving the labor movement and rebuilding its base 
for its future success, public union organizations are 
going to be absolutely critical. What do we need to do? 
First, the law needs to be changed. That is more 
significant than anything else. People tell you all sorts 
of things about Canada ~ different ideas and a different 
political atmosphere -- but the heart of the difference in 
the percentage of union organization is that while both 
started with the Wagner Act or its equivalent as its base, 
that has all but deteriorated in the U.S. 

Second, I do not believe you are quite right about 
what we have done to protect workers, to help them move 
to a better employment relationship. One of the glories 
of our labor movement is that we have looked after 
individuals much better in the workplace than the union 
movements in Europe or Japan, That is a sweeping 
generalization, but it is fundamentally accurate. I would 
not want to give it up because we have to do some other 


things. But, and it is a difficult challenge, we do have to 
shift far more resources into union organizing and focus 
on that as our primary task. A labor movement that is 
not out organizing the unorganized is not worthy of the 
name labor movement. We are making headway. 
Certainly in my union, despite all our difficulties, we use 
far more resources today, proportionally, for union 
organizing purposes than we did in the heyday, 

Finally, we have to change the whole attitude of 
society. We need to be much more aggressive in saying 
that unions are part of the solution, not part of the 
problem. America indeed is harmed by attacking its 
labor movement all the time. We would be enormously 
assisted if the country came to appreciate the value of its 
labor movement. Our friends are particularly valuable in 
this context. There are a great many of our friends in 
their normal occupations representing the people of 
America who depend on us for political support, but I 
don't t h ink they understand, to the depth that they 
should, that their future and the future of progressive 
politics in America is threatened with destruction if we 
permit the labor movement to be destroyed. The 
organization of workers provides a foundation. There is 
not a good cause in America, in terms of human rights, 
civil rights, civil liberties and on and on, for which the 
support of the labor movement is not critically important. 

So those are my three points: change the law, 
shift resources and do a better job in the labor movement, 
and change the attitude of society, particularly among 
our Mends. + 


Ronald Radosh 

Seymour Martin Lipset 

Will Marshall 

Fred Siegel 


Ronald Radosh 

Welcome to the panel on the polity. We are very 
honored to have a distinguished, and I hope 
controversial, panel of people who will shed some 
different perspectives on questions of politics in America: 
How do we achieve change? What are the special 
interests? Are trade unions special interests? What is 
the nature of reform groups? What is the role, if any, for 
social democrats in this new movement and new era? 

Directly following will be the session on the 
community, which deals with vital moral, cultural and 
social issues of our day. Since the polity and the 
community interact, we will have a joint discussion 
period covering both topics. ♦ 


Seymour Martin Lipset 

Seymour Martin Lipset is the Hazel Professor of Public 
Policy at George Mason University, a scholar with the 
Progressive Policy Institute and the Woodrow Wilson 
Center, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution of 
Stanford University. His work spans the fields of political 
sociology, social stratification, public opinion, and the 
sociology of intellectual life, Mr t Lipset is currently the 
president of tfie American Sociological Association and 
has previously served as president of the American 
Political Science Association. He is author or co-author 
of 21 books or monographs, including the award winning 
Political Man, The Politics of Unreason, and The First 

Docial Democracy can be summed up as 
egalitarianism - a more egalitarian, democratic society. 
This is what the social democratic movement has always 
stood for. But one has to recognize that the means that 
social democratic movements and parties around the 
world now accept to further these continued aims are 
literally 180 degrees from what they originally accepted. 

I wrote a paper a few years ago entitled "No Third 
Way/' which looks at all social democratic parties from 
Australia to Sweden to Japan to Israel, etc. And all of 
them, not most, all of them are now for a market 
economy. Each one has given up the goal of anything 
you would remotely call socialism. Not only are they for 
a market economy, but most are, for example, against a 
capital gains tax. On an issue like the capital gains tax, 
most social democratic parties agreed with George Bush, 
not with the Democrats. 


Many years ago Tony Crossland, who was 
Chancellor of the Exchequer in the British Labor Party 
government, said he didn't understand the logic of a 
capital gains tax. Because after all aren't you interested 
in investment? Isn't investment what makes the system 
go? A Labor Prime Minister of Australia, made the point 
that the movement never understood the role of profits. 
It thought profits went into the pockets of capitalists. It 
did not understand that most profits go into investment, 
and it is in the worker's interests to increase profits. 
And he boasted of that as the role of his party. 

In Argentina a few years ago Felipe Gonzalez, the 
Prime Minister of Spain, told 
a group of trade unionists 
that the state was not an 
effective instrument of 
economic policy, that 
"everything the state touches 
turns to ashes." This is a 
socialist Prime Minister of a 
major state who in 1975 was 
the leader of the Marxist 
wing of his party. A recent 
New York Times article 
talked about how the Labor Party in Israel is much more 
of a free enterprise and free market party than Iikud, 
which is a more populist party. With any one of these 
socialist parties, the entire meaning of how you achieve 
the ends that social democrats still stand for has changed 

I would like to suggest that historically the 
Socialist Party in the U.S. was a sectarian party, and it 
made some major mistakes. It opposed the movement 
within the AFL for a Socialist Party in 1910. During the 


'30s and beyond it opposed an early collaboration with 
the Democratic Party, a tactic which communists used 
effectively and which Norman Thomas was later to admit 
was a mistake. 

The question is, what does one do today?. As 
Amitai Etzioni said, what is needed is a movement. But 
a movement has to stand for something. I think you 
have to have a movement for effective change towards 
more egalitarianism or democracy in this country, of 
which social democrats should be a part. But there are 
many others with whom basically there is no 
disagreement. For example, while the Democratic 
Leadership Council (DLC) has various programs and 
policies with which some social democrats disagree, I do 
not think there is that much difference. We need to get 
together if we are going to have a broader, more effective 
movement in this country to push this administration. 
Outside groups have to press. The Heritage Foundation 
never let up on Ronald Reagan, and I do not think we 
can let up on Bill Clinton. But one has to be organized 
and not splintered into little groups. 

One issue has been raised about The Mandate for 
Change, and since I wrote an introduction to it, I want to 
respond. The issue is why there is no chapter or position 
on unions. I have been much more involved in unions 
than others in the DLC or the Progressive Policy 
Institute (PPI). In fact what I consider almost my sole 
contribution to the 1992 campaign is that I helped bring 
Bill Clinton and Lane Kirkland together. But the 
problem with a chapter on unions is that it would have 
to be analytical: Why is the union movement getting 
weaker in this country and almost everywhere else? If 
you look at the statistics for Britain, for Japan, for 


France, the trajectory is down, in some countries very 
rapidly. Why are unions getting weaker? 

One of the reasons common to most industrialized 
countries is structural. The kinds of jobs and industries 
where unions have been strong, like steel, have been 
declining — there are fewer of them. I once wrote a book 
on the typographical union. Well, there ain't no 
typographical union anymore because there are no 
printers, no compositors. But the other aspect is workers' 
attitudes. One has to face the fact that workers, for 
whatever reason, are less pro-union. They get less out of 
unions now. 

Finally, I want to make a point about structural 
changes and class reactions. John Kenneth Galbraith's 
best known book, The Affluent Society, did very well in 
part because of the title. But the title is a misnomer. 
The book is really about poverty. In The Affluent Society, 
Galbraith made the point many years ago that one of the 
changes that has happened in society was that the lower 
class was no longer a class, it was no longer just poor 
workers. It was people outside the system. It was the 
handicapped, it was people of low IQ, it was single 
mothers, it was old people. These were groups who could 
not organize on their own behalf. The book is an 
argument for why the middle class has to get active to do 
something for these people because they can not 
effectively organize on their own behalf. This whole 
question of what has happened to class structure and to 
different groups in the society is again one toward which 
we must direct our attention. ♦ 



Win Marshall 

Will Marshall is the president and a /bunder of the 
Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), a public policy center 
established in 1989. He previously served as the policy 
director of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). His 
campaign and political experience includes the campaign 
of former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt and the 
staff of the late U.S. Representative Gillis Long of 
Louisiana, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. 
In addition, Mr. Marshall was senior editor of the 1984 
House Democratic Caucus policy blueprint "Renewing 
America's Promise. " 

A am someone who stands outside the social 
democratic tradition, or at least grew up outside it. But 
I appreciate the opportunity to come here and at least 
allay some suspicions about the DLC and PPI that I 
know lurk in these quarters. In reading the paper I was 
struck by the way your attempts to rethink social 
democracy coincide with ours to recast contemporary 
liberalism. The convergence is stunning and I was left 
with the same question Paul Starr raised this morning, 
whether the topic might better be rephrased: What are 
the fundamental distinctions left between liberalism and 
social democracy? Are there some fundamental 

Let me go through what I regard as the points of 
convergence between our thinking and the points in this 
paper before turning to the most obvious tension in our 
outlooks which involves the political and economic role of 

We have in common; a rejection of neo-classical 
economics; the embrace of government activism to 
promote economic and social progress; the need for 
vigorous public action to reduce disparities of wealth and 
to equalize opportunities, not outcomes, and the factors 
common to all wealth producing activities rather than 
specific sectorial areas. Like Paul Starr, I was struck by 
the absence of references to planning and collectivist 
tendencies that I might have expected in a social 
democratic document. I also was struck by the language 
that was critical of our liberal welfare state. We devoted 
a chapter in Mandate for Change on ways to empower 
the poor, not merely to mitigate their suffering through 
marginal adjustment and transfer payments, moving 
away from current social policy to a work-based policy ~ 
one that shifts the focus of public subsidy from welfare to 

We seem to be right in sync with what the paper 
calls the internationalist imperative. We share the view 
that the strategic approach to promoting democracy, 
human rights and markets is something that is 
consistent with our democratic convictions and our 
security interests. I concur with the paper's argument 
that the multicultural agenda tends to erode the spirit of 
tolerance that makes true multicultural diversity 
possible. We have to vigorously defend the civic ethic 
that binds us together as citizens. And lastly, it may be 
stretching it to call this a point of convergence, but the 
paper at least acknowledges the growing debate about 
what I call bureaucratic dysfunction. We advocate what 
we call entrepreneurial governing. The idea is to move 
away from the bureaucratic model of governing to try to 
inject choice, competition and market incentives into the 
provision of public services. It is meant not simply to 


control cost, although that is an important motive, but 
also to empower people in the public sector to do their 
jobs as they are capable of doing them and to provide 
betters services. And to surmount this terrible 
skepticism about government that leads to the tax allergy 
that we have seen again and again in American politics. 

We believe that progressives, social democrats and 
the like have a Nixon-to-China opportunity to 
remvigorate progressive government by trying to explore 
some of these entreprenuerial governing ideas like public 
school choice, managed 
competition for health care, 
trying to use green charges 
and green taxes to combat 
pollution. This is a subject 
worthy of deeper exploration. 
It offers the best answer I 
know of to the conundrum 
facing parties of the 
democratic left everywhere, 
which is how to reconcile our 
desire for public activism 
with the public's aversion not 

just here but around the world to bureaucratic arrogance, 
rigidity and failure. 

Against these vast areas of agreement, our 
differences seem very small, but we ought to talk about 
them. I suspect we may have some disagreements over 
how you redirect federal spending away from current 
consumption and toward the kind of investment we need 
to make our workers and firms more competitive in a 
global economy which forces us to make some very tough 
choices on social spending. 


Where I really got lost was in the section of the 
paper on industrial democracy and on the trade 
quandary. There is a swipe at Mandate for Change. The 
paper alleges that there is an anti-union animus that I 
am unable to detect. And the paper says that the book 
never mentions unions, which is not true, but it mentions 
them in the unfortunate context of dissolving sources of 
security for workers in this new global economy based on 
a new agile production system, which stresses customized 
production and mental agility. The chapter is actually 
written by Doug Ross, and he argues I think 
persuasively, that we need to rethink the sources of 
worker's security in this new system. He argues that a 
source of security is the ability throughout your lifetime 
to get the kind of skills, education and training 
demanded by the new production system and the new 
modalities of the service economy. 

In the book we call for a new compact with 
workers which has three elements . One is an 
employment insurance system which would complement 
the unemployment insurance system. We argue against 
waiting until someone has lost a job. We are trying to 
help people get continuous upgrading of skills and the 
training they need to change jobs and careers, which 
increasingly is going to be the norm in this economy. 
The second idea borrows from the German example to 
establish a comprehensive system of school-based youth 
apprenticeships to help the non-college bound get 
certified skills and on-the-job training. Third is the 
requirement, and Bob Reich has raised this, that firms 
pay a tax of 1.5% of their payroll to upgrade the skills of 
their workers. So our book does say a lot about 
empowering workers, a lot about the sources of worker 
security in the new economy. 


But the paper is quite right in pointing out that 
we do not explore the role of unions in this new compact 
and we do not analyze the reasons for the decline in the 
economic and political power of trade unions. This is 
undoubtedly a serious omission, and not the only one in 
this book, but I can assure you it is not so much from 
animus as from uncertainty. We have done some 
thinking about it preliminarily, but I do not know what 
the answer is. I do not know how unions today redefine 
the rules that become more relevant to workers in this 
new economy. I have some ideas but I suspect that the 
people in this room are the folks who are going to have 
to do the serious thinking here and we would love to 
collaborate with you on that front. 

On trade the paper takes what I would regard as 
a very sinister view of trade and global competition and 
I found the discussion very unconvincing. It does not 
take into account how dependent on exports our economy 
has become, and it does not even admit the possibility 
that the protectionist pressures sometimes generated by 
unions may be aimed at protecting particular jobs and 
particular industries as opposed to protecting the broad 
interests of working people. We know the impact of the 
global economy is exceedingly cruel, devastating on 
certain industries and communities. But the right 
response is not to stifle competition and risk lowering 
everyone's standard of living but to match our 
competitors' investment in worker security, education, 
training, research and development, and all the human 
and capital factors that we need to upgrade to become 
more competitive. 

Finally I want to express my thanks and hope 
that we can continue this because I think the possibility 


of some kind of fusion between our tendencies can be 
quite formidable in advancing the common cause. ♦ 

Fred Siegel 

Fred Siegel is senior editor of The City Journal, a 
quarterly review of New York and urban affairs, and a 
professor of history and humanities at The Cooper Union. 
A former Mellon fellow and a fellow at The Institute for 
Advanced Study, he is the author of two books, The Roots 
of Southern Distinctiveness: Tobacco and Sociology in 
Danville, Virginia, 1780-1865 and Troubled Journey: 
Pearl Harbor to Ronald Reagan, and numerous articles in 
academic and public policy journals. Most recently, he 
has written an extended essay on "The New Left, the New 
Right and the New Deal" for the Festschrift honoring 
Arthur Schlesinger, 

X want to add some wrinkles to the paper. First, if 
the authors had looked at the world through New York, 
they might have written a far more pessimistic paper. 
Just living in New York is an exercise in pessimism these 
days. In the 1980s the New York City budget jumped 
from $10 billion to $30 billion, as the quality of services 
declined and the social breakdown accelerated. Politics 
degenerated into the cultivation of cultural hatreds such 
that in the last Senate race, the economy went virtually 
unmentioned, even as New York, which is 10% of the 
nation's economy, lost 37% of the jobs in this recent 
recession. This collapse of extraordinary proportions was 
not debated during the Senate race. The debate was 


about cultural issues, about who had been more 

The cynicism about government is not exclusive to 
New York. Around the world, there are extraordinarily 
low levels of approval ratings for all governments. As 
bad as Bush's ratings were, Mulroney*s were at 17%, 
Mitterand's were at 26% and the approval rating of the 
Italian government is so low it probably cannot even be 
measured. I would argue that in the United States, and 
New York in particular, since we are in the vanguard of 
decline, there is an additional reason for the disrepute of 
government, and that is the excessive forms the rights 
revolution took on -- the selling off of state sovereignty to 
interest groups which undermined the notion of the 
government as the agent for common purpose. I want to 
give two pithy examples, 

Three blocks from where Ron Radosh formerly 
lived we have a man known as the wildman of 96th 
Street. We have someone living on a Veteran's pension, 
probably insane, probably violent, pushing children into 
the street, threatening people day in and day out, and 
somehow no one is accountable. The medical authorities, 
the police, everyone has an explanation for why they 
cannot violate the rights of someone who is apparently 
mad and violent. He has been shuffled back and forth 
from institution to institution and then back into the 
streets for long stretches, until he does something violent 
again and then the shuffle continues. 

There is a second example of the rights revolution 
run amok. Everyone who has walked around New York 
City knows that you need public toilets. A French firm 
offered to put up public toilets for free. The city rejected 
the offer but allowed a series of test toilets. It almost did 
not happen, however, because handicapped rights groups 


initially insisted that all the toilets be accessible to the 
handicapped. Then they insisted that the same number 
of toilets be set aside for 99.99% of the population as for 
.01% of the population. The experiment took place — 
there were compromises worked out — and after six 
months it was dismantled because no final agreement 
could be reached. So after six months of relief in mid- 
town, people are on their own again. 

I want to add three major shifts that explain the 
difficulties for people who are social democrats today, 
One is the shift from manufacturing to government 
employment. Second is the shift from an assimilated to 
a largely immigrant population in some of our cities. 
Third is the shift from big business to small. 

First, the shift from manufacturing to government. 
The social solidarity associated with social democracy 
developed in a world of shared struggle against 
manufacturing. From a society where government was 
limited and giant corporations dominated the economy, 
for the first time in our history we now have more people 
employed by government than employed in 
manufacturing. What does that mean? Off the record, a 
New York City private sector labor leader complained to 
me that for his workers, the chief enemy in New York is 
no longer the employer, it is the tax collector -- the City 
of New York. This is an enormous shift. 

In New York, we have a sense that government is 
in business for itself. For example, over the past 20 
years, the number of sanitation police has been doubled, 
while the city is dirtier than ever. We have doubled the 
number of people who are sanitation police, but we have 
halved the number of people who actually perform a 
social service - who clean the streets. So, we get more 
revenue from sanitation, and the streets are dirtier. 


The private sector has had to step in. We have things 
called Business Improvement Districts, which essentially 
supply the public services that government used to 
supply. They clean the streets, they provide patrols, they 
put up signs, all the things government used to do before 

it got splintered into a 
hundred different interest 
groups each of which had its 
own set of rights, its own 
claims against government, 
none of which were 
necessarily claims of the 
society at large. 

The second huge shift 
is from big business to small. 
Since 1980 the Fortune 500 
Companies have laid off 4V£ 
million workers and they are continuing to shed. Almost 
all new job growth has taken place in small business. 
This is an enormous shift, because much of the support 
for social democracy came from a fear of concentrated 
business power. As IBM collapses, some of that support 

The kind of agreements you can work out between 
big government and big business in terms of worker 
mandates, health benefits, etc. , become harder to arrange 
with small business. It becomes harder to use large 
companies to serve larger social ends. Here I am mildly 
optimistic. Bill Galston hit on it in his talk. The growth 
of small business gives government* if it can act in a 
competent way, an opportunity to step into the role that 
the agreements between big government and big business 
once played, because small business people are not going 
to be able to offer social insurance or medical insurance. 


In New York, Blue Cross and Blue Shield is essentially 
broke, and the burden of fixing that is essentially falling 
onto small business people who have to lay off workers. 
This is a place for government to step in and serve as an 
honest broker. You can see the same thing with the 
break-up of Bell Labs. When Bell Labs had a monopoly, 
it could do research for the whole country. With Bell 
Labs breaking up, it is important for government to step 
in and do some of that research. 

One last point. Immigration has not been 
mentioned in the paper. Again, this is a view from New 
York and also to an extent from Los Angeles, 
Immigration has had an enormous impact on notions of 
social solidarity. The history of social solidarity and 
social democratic movements in America is such that it 
was only after the great immigrant wave was absorbed 
and something of a common culture formed that the great 
social gains of the 1930s were possible. Since then, there 
have been two great waves of immigration, one of black 
Americans from the South to the Northern cities, which 
shattered some of that social consensus that was created 
in the '30s. And the second is a huge wave of new 
immigration which has also shattered that social 
solidarity. It will take time before these new populations 
are absorbed and share enough of a common culture that 
those fractures do not inhibit social democratic 
organizing. Talking to people who are workers, ordinary 
middle class people in New York, I sense a tremendous 
danger, A combination of the downward pressure on 
wages exerted by free trade plus some of the downward 
pressure created by immigration creates a combustible 
situation in which people feel themselves enormously 
vulnerable. Here too there is a role for government, if 
government could perform competently. 


Let me close on an optimistic note. It is not my 
nature, but I will do my best. I had a conversation 
recently with a labor leader in Los Angeles. He was 
talking about the difficulty in organizing immigrant 
workers, operating in small to medium size businesses -- 
the future of Los Angeles, He said that there was a 
useful model in the past, and that was the Knights of 
Labor. He said his vision of organizing labor in the 
future was a combination of workplace and neighborhood 
organizing. That if labor organizing was going to succeed 
in Los Angeles, it had to have a larger communitarian 
vision to try to bridge a few of the gaps that were 
mentioned here in the last two days, and to draw in this 
new generation of workers, who had to be organized both 
in their homes and in their workplaces. ♦ 


Jim Chapin: I was asked to comment on the paper. I 
am not speaking as a representative of Democratic 
Socialists of America; these are my own personal 
comments. First in terms of the paper itself, about 80% 
of it could have been passed at a DSA convention. I have 
two rules I would like to impose on it. The first rule is 
that nobody refer to anything that happened between 
1914 and 1991. Most of the 20th century has been a 
waste. We on the left spent 77 years fighting over 
communism, and the fact is historically, the world is 
about at the same point it was before 1914. If you talk 
about the world in 1905, what do we have? We have a 
rising Germany and Japan, we have a declining Russia 
and China, we have a war in the Balkans, we have a 


prevailing view that liberal capitalism is going to be the 
wave of the future. This is the world in 1905. 

Most of the 20th century has been a long detour 
and diversion to everything everybody had to say and do 
since 1914. I say 1914 not 1917 because World War I is 
a big part of the explanation for what went wrong in the 
20th century* The 20th century should be forgotten; 
basically it was a lousy century* Joel Freedman and I 
agree on most questions, just as I agree with Al Shanker 
in his talk here. Once in El Salvador in 1989, Shanker 
and I ended up having a debate about the Vietnam War. 
Let's forget about the Vietnam War. Let's forget about 
everything that happened in the struggle against 
communism, which Irving Howe called the sad necessity; 
it is over. 

For socialists and social democrats the key 
question is, what is next? The twenty-first century, the 
third millennium is upon us, so let us deal with that. Do 
not use platonic categories like the left, the right; I am 
not sure what they mean. We are going to make new 
friends among old enemies, and new enemies among old 
friends. The divisions in American life are going to 
change in all sorts of ways. I am actually optimistic 
about the fact that this old division is over and we can 
deal with other questions. 

But the paper itself is a little too balanced. There 
should be a little craziness here. You are dealing with 
socialism and social democracy in America. Let us 
understand that that is a hopeful project but a crazy 
project. It is written from the center, and that is a wrong 
place. The center is a useful place to think about politics 
but it is not a very useful place from which to do politics, 
Gilbert and Sullivan are right; everyone is a little 
conservative or a little liberal when they are born, and 


that is, in a certain sense, what we have to keep in mind. 

Ironically, my second point is almost exactly 
contradictory to my first point. Socialism and liberalism 
are not necessarily in accord. Socialism is a more 
conservative doctrine in some ways. The defenders of 
capitalism often talk about capitalism's creative and 
destructive powers. Capitalism created Detroit and then 
destroyed Detroit. It created Los Angeles and now seems 
to be on the point of destroying Los Angeles. Socialism 
is protection. I do not mean protectionism - although it 
can deteriorate into that like it can deteriorate into 
patronage ~ but protection. If there is anything that 
socialism should stand for, and social democracy certainly 
should stand for it, it is protecting people from arrogant 
elites who try to destroy their lives. If I understand the 
emotional center of this paper, it is against the kind of 
people who say pass the North American Free Trade 
Agreement, without thinking about the workers, saying 
it is for their own good in the long run. And the same 
people say let us have a rainbow curriculum and tell 
everybody what they have to do. In other words, it is 
government seen as an instrument of some people telling 
other people what to do -- in the long run it will be good 
for you. Not trusting democracy, in effect not trusting 

We have to remember that America is an 
evangelical Protestant society, not in the composition of 
a majority of its population but in terms of the rhetoric 
or style. This paper is not evangelical in its rhetoric or 
style and therefore it falls down in a certain basic sense. 
The reason that Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas had 
that kind of style was because it is the dominant political 
style -- whether it is the right, the left, or the center. 


Third point. I cannot resist the pun here. You 
have a paper about social democracy without reference to 
actual existing socialism. Something important 
happened in the 1980s. For the first time since the '30s, 
a majority of people who called themselves socialists in 
America and belonged to socialist organizations were 
democratic socialists belonging to democratic socialist 
organizations instead of undemocratic socialist 
organizations. All the activities of all the people who call 
themselves socialists in 20th century America probably 
did more to retard the advancement of socialism than to 
advance it. The reason is very simple; the majority of 
people who called themselves socialists in America were 
associated in effect with the Communist Party or that 
gang which formed the New Left, 

If you are going to be on the left, you have to 
t hink of constituencies. Let me mention just three. 
First, the paper does not discuss environmentalism. And 
you have to think about the whole vast church 
community. It is not just the National Council of 
Churches; I am talking about the mass constituency. The 
third group is the community activists. This whole 
business of public-private interaction is terribly 

This is a hopeful development. We hope to be in 
continuing dialogue on these questions. 

Carl Gershman: Fm sure you didn't mean to set it up 
this way, but it's like nothing happened during the past 
20 years and we're back to the split of 1972. I want to 
contest Jim Chapin's interpretation that the 20th century 
was a detour. I think, more properly, communism was 
the detour. Communism was a dead end. And it was, 
indeed, not something that can be very casually 



dismissed, now that it's over. It's a big mistake to 
dismiss something as significant as the struggle between 
democracy and totalitarianism in the 20th century. 

The Social Democrats played a unique and historic 
role during that period. It's very important to 
understand why they played that role, what motivated 
them to play that role, what was at stake in this 
struggle. And it was indeed a struggle for the 
democratic idea. 

I would argue that the social democrats fought for 
that idea, believed in that idea, with a special fervor, 
perhaps in part growing out of the competition, the 
rivalry between communism and social democracy. But 
also, I think, deriving from something that is perhaps not 
always conscious to us but is deeply rooted in the 
American political tradition. We were not just social 
democrats during this battle. We were also Americans, 
perhaps in ways that we didn't fully appreciate. 

Now that the Cold War is over, it may be 
opportune to try to return to some of these original 
concepts of democracy that didn't derive in the 19th 
century, certainly not from Marx and not even from 
someone like Eduard Bernstein writing at the end of the 
19th century, but frankly a century earlier in our own 
historic tradition. Why talk about Eduard Bernstein and 
evolutionism in the late 19th century when you have 
figures like James Madison whom you can refer to? Or 
Thomas Jefferson and civil society and individual liberty? 
And on through our traditions. Frankly, the tradition of 
internationalism we represent has a lot more in common 
with Woodrow Wilson and the traditions of a democratic 
internationalism than most major figures one could 
identify in a socialist tradition. 


The dilemma that we face, and I would like Marty 
Lipset to address it because I don't know anyone who can 
speak more intelligently about this than he, is one 
referred to some 60 years ago by Leon Sampson who 
wrote a book on why socialism failed in America. He said 
Americanism really embodied the values of socialism and 
Americans weren't interested in socialism because they 
thought they already had it in Americanism. The 
question is, can a social democratic movement seek to 
embody those values, and I might say the tradition of 
what Jim Chapin called evangelical Protestantism, in the 
way this is articulated; can we seek to embody these 
values without sacrificing our identity as social 

I think that we can, because I have interpreted 
social democrats as people who are radical democrats. 
Sidney Hook's keynote speech to the 1976 convention of 
Social Democrats, USA referred to social democracy as 
not so much a political concept as a moral concept. Social 
democracy as a way of life. These are people who lived, 
breathed, wanted to fight for it in every place where it 
was endangered. And in a sense, it is Americanism as a 
way of life, the Americanism that derives from our own 
political tradition, a political tradition that is now indeed 
in a process of becoming globalized. Having started as a 
experiment in self-government 200 years ago in this 
country, it is the ideas of the American Revolution that 
are now being taken over. And in a certain sense, we 
stand in that tradition, I would argue, as much or more 
than we stand in a tradition that derived from some 
German thinker in the 19th century. The more that we 
can understand this tradition, see our different roots in 
it, begin to identify values and the political ideas that we 
have with this tradition, the better. 


The notion of positive liberty is included in this 
document. Indeed, it could be argued that the political 
tradition of America was originally a kind of negative 
liberty, to restrict the power of government over the 
individual. The first 12 amendments to our constitution 
do that. But with Lincoln, with the Civil War, with the 
struggle against slavery, the power of government was 
enlisted to defend the rights of citizens. And subsequent 
amendments to our constitution spoke of "Congress shall 
have the power to" in order to defend those rights. It is 
a concept of positive liberty that we can identify with 
Lincoln, and subsequently in the defense of the poor with 
Roosevelt, and so forth. There is a rich tradition and a 
language there, 

I wonder whether, in this sense, we can identify 
with a tradition that is so broad, and try to articulate it 
and reconcile it with the tradition of social democracy. 
Whether indeed social democracy can become not, as 
Perm suggested earlier, some element, some strand of 
thought within a big tent that is vaguely called 
"liberalism," but a big tent itself which would have 
within it a labor group that sees a unique role for the 
labor movement, but also a communitarian group, a neo- 
conservative group. People who live and breathe 
democracy, who feel that it is the central value that has 
to be defended in the world. As Leszek Kolakowski said 
at our convention in 1978, we defend very different 
values at times, some of which may be in competition 
with each other* And it is the unique role of social 
democrats somehow to try to make the compromises 
between these values. Between economic progress and 
environmentalism. Between liberty and democracy. 
Between majority rights and minority rights. Between a 
concept of Americanism which brings people together and 


also a concept of ethnic identity which recognizes the 
unique values that different groups bring to this society. 
If we can do that, we can have a sense of mission, 
of identity, the proper kind of symbolism which is very 
important that can appeal to the American people. And 
we can have as the mission of groups such as this, at a 
period when many Americans are worried about the 
American tradition, reclaiming that tradition and 
translating it into terms that are relevant to the 21st 
century. ♦ 


Suzanne Goldsmith 

Penn Kemble 

Michael Meyers 


Suzanne Goldsmith 

Suzanne Goldsmith is the director of the community 
service project of the American Alliance for Rights and 
Responsibilities, a communitarian public interest group. 
She recently completed a book about her experience as a 
participant-observer in City Year, a youth community 
service corps in Boston. Prior to joining City Year, Ms. 
Goldsmith worked for three years at the New York City 
Volunteer Corps, where she supervised young people in 
full-time community work. 

A. read the discussion paper with delight and 
tremendous enthusiasm, especially for the many 
references to the need to promote responsibility, to 
inculcate a stronger civic culture, and to revive a unifying 
sense of citizenship. We must continue to defend 
individual rights. But when extreme rights assertions 
challenge community well-being, someone must be willing 
to talk for the responsibility side of the equation. Fred 
Siegel made that point eloquently today. The American 
Alliance for Rights and Responsibilities has defended 
community service requirements for schools in Maryland 
and Pennsylvania. We have defended ordinances that 



promote civility in public spaces. We have spoken up for 
wider latitude for communities seeking new ways to 
combat violent drug markets. 

The field of national service, which received 
passing reference in the discussion paper, touches on 
many of the themes in the paper, I want to discuss the 
role that service can play in building community. Service 
brings people together in shared tasks, it teaches 
responsibility, it teaches the skills and habits of 
participatory democracy, and it promotes communication 
and shared values across racial and social barriers. 

I envision a national service program that is both 
more specific and more comprehensive than that outlined 
in the discussion paper. First, we need to develop and 
reinforce service opportunities at every stage of life. 
Elementary school students can combine academic work 
with projects that benefit the community such as testing 
water samples from a stream and helping to clean up the 
stream. English classes can write to elderly people in a 
nursing home. There should also be incentives for 
retirees to do service. We need to make public service as 
much a part of citizenship as voting. 

Some argue that you can't force altruism. But this 
isn't about altruism, it's about civic responsibility. 
Service has another benefit, and I think that this one 
may be if not forced, at least encouraged. It can help 
participants learn how to build a more inclusive kind of 
community. We should ask young people to serve a year 
of full time service. But we shouldn't just send them off 
to individual service placements. Instead we should ask 
young people to get involved in a national service corps, 
a domestic peace corps where they would work in diverse 
teams, made up of people of different races, and ethnic 
and social backgrounds. 


In 1990 and 1991, 1 was a member of such a team 
in a program in Boston called City Year, a youth service 
corps that was created as a testing ground for national 
service* City Year started out with only private funding. 
Later it received a $7 million grant from the federal 
government and it got a lot of attention from the Clinton 
Transition Team. 

There were 12 of us on 
my team. They were black, 
white, Asian and Hispanic, 
The team included a college 
sophomore of Korean descent 
who had grown up in a 
wealthy suburb, a Burmese 
immigrant, a white public 
school graduate and former 
skin head, a black gang 
member and convicted drug 
dealer who had recently 
gotten out of jail, a black 
woman from a middle class family who is now studying 
at Harvard. During our service together, we rebuilt a 
playground and community garden in a new 
configuration to keep out drug dealers who had been 
terrorizing the neighborhood. We served as teachers' 
aides in a public elementary school where the classrooms 
were overcrowded. We organized a community clean-up 
day in a dispirited neighborhood, and we gutted and 
rehabilitated a brownstone to create transitional housing 
for homeless people. 

In response to the concerns Al Shanker raised, we 
need only look around to see there is a lot of work not 
being done, and there are a lot of things people can do 
without displacing workers. 



The work we did was dirty, bruising and 
emotionally draining, But it was useful and it made us 
feel good. And everyone on the team came away with an 
enhanced sense of his or her ability to affect change, 
especially through cooperative efforts. That knowledge 
brought with it a sense of responsibility. Each person 
knew that skipping work, for example, would result not 
only in lost pay and possible disciplinary action, but 
would slow the work we all were doing and would also 
hurt the team. 

The most important lesson we learned, however, 
was about building community. Some of us, myself 
included, went in quite misty-eyed about the prospects of 
finding commonality and making friends with people we 
would otherwise never meet. That mist cleared pretty 
quickly. We did not all love each other. Some of us 
didn't even like each other. There were some brutal 
disputes within the team. And some enduring tensions 
arose from both personality and racial and cultural 
differences. Not everyone completed the program. But 
by the time we finished, there was no denying what we 
had all shared. Each person had come to seem critical to 
the group's functioning. We had watched each other's 
backs in dangerous neighborhoods. We comforted each 
other in moments of frustration. We knew each other's 
ticks, mannerisms, and family stories. Each person had 
a chance to reveal some unique talent and some unique 
failing. We had seen how the stereotypes fit and we had 
been around long enough to see how they didn't. Finally, 
we had to acknowledge the contribution each person had 
made to our mutual accomplishments. Like veterans of 
a moral war, each person on that team will look back on 
that year proudly as one in which he or she did real and 
important work. And we will remember the intimacy we 



shared with the people who were in the trenches with us. 
Would we care more about the conditions of the 
deteriorating inner cities if we knew our children would 
go off to serve there despite our best efforts to insulate 
them? Wouldn't we feel more connection to and 
understanding of the problems of unwed mothers, of 
middle class children struggling to pay for college, of rich 
kids from broken homes, foster children and gang 
members if such people had served along side us in 
national service? We spend a lot of time mo anin g about 
the loss of community in America. The word is so 
overused that it seems to have lost any real meaning. 
What it seems to represent to many people is some vague 
time when we didn't have to lock our cars. 

But in fact, as Michael Novak pointed out, we all 
have communities, Our families, our churches, our 
neighborhoods, the people we work with, and perhaps the 
members of our ethnic or racial group. The problem is 
that these communities too rarely see themselves as 
intersecting with one another. They see themselves as 
competing with one another, armed with unequal 
weapons. We have only to remember the riots in L.A. to 
know how dangerous that can be. But communities don't 
need to be built only of groups of friends or people of 
similar styles and tastes, or people who live on the same 
street or worship the same god or immigrated from the 
same country or want the same things from the 
government. To enjoy community, people only need to 
feel they are part of something bigger than themselves, 
a shared goal or enterprise. To build community doesn't 
require looking at others and saying they're just like me. 
It requires only the ability to look at someone and see 
him as a potential partner in a shared enterprise. We 
can learn to do that through service. And for that reason, 



if there's to be a new social contract, an obligation to 
perform citizen service should be at the center, ♦ 

Perm Kemble 

At the time of the conference, Penn Kemble was Senior 
Associate at Freedom House, Presently, he is Deputy 
Director of the United States Information Agency (USIA). 
He has served on the Board of Directors of the National 
Democratic Institute for International Affairs and the 
Board of International Broadcasting which oversees Radio 
Free Europe and Radio Liberty, Mr. Kemble was special 
assistant to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and a staff 
assistant to Bayard Rustin for the 1963 March on 

± want to talk extemporaneously about the 
experience I have from working in the social democratic 
movement and why, in my view, it is movements like 
ours that make a profound contribution to the 
strengthening of community and to the inculcation and 
defense of moral values in democratic society. 

Amitai Etzioni made an important statement to 
set the stage for our discussion. He said that until the 
late 1950s, there was a structure of values and authority 
in the United States. It was one that we might justifiably 
contest on many points. It certainly didn't provide fall 
rights for minorities, for women, all sorts of injustices 
were embedded in this structure. But there was, 
nevertheless, a structure and it worked to the extent that 
there was law and order, the streets were relatively safe, 



and people more or less knew where one another stood 
and were able to conduct themselves according to certain 
established rules of decency and civility. 

Toward the end of the 1950s, that began to break 
down. I don't know exactly why. It's one of those 
recurrent cycles of flaming youth that we have in free 
societies, and surely it had something to do with the fact 
that our people had been through a long, difficult period 
of depression and war and cold war and there was an 
impulse in the country to "have a fling/' It also, Fm sure, 
had profound social and economic causes, which are far 
deeper than I can hope to probe. 

About the time many of us were coming of age, we 
saw a tremendous cultural upheaval in society. I myself 
think that one of the first manifestations was the so- 
called Playboy ethic. It was something that didn't 
express itself so much as a shift in social morality as a 
shift in personal morality. IVe often made the argument 
that the modern feminist movement really began when 
the Playboy ethic became vogue among men who came to 
feel that it was perfectly acceptable to throw over your 
wife and family and get involved in other kinds of 
relationships. I think it was Betty Friedan, in the The 
Feminist Mystique, who discussed her own experience as 
the victim of the Playboy ethic. A whole movement grew 
up among suburban and affluent women who felt that 
they stood in great danger of losing their homesteads, 
their families, and needed to develop greater economic 
freedom and capability to stand on their own two feet. 

At the same time as this change in sexual mores 
was taking place, the black freedom movement swept 
onto the scene. I always felt that white society had a 
profound effect on the culture that attended the eruption 
of black America into the mainstream of our society. 

Whites were looking for a more liberal (in the philosophic 
sense) style of life; they wanted to throw away constraint, 
to kick up their heels. They took the black experience 
and shaped it into something that they felt would justify 
and further their own cultural impulses. 

As this cultural revolution went forward, many 
people who had been raised in the old left, including 
many communists, were quite 
appalled by it. I remember 
being in many youth 
activities in the '60s with Red 
Diaper babies. They were 
very severe, disciplined, 
responsible political opera- 
tives, and they were 
astounded at what was going 
on in SDS -- the drugs, the 
sleeping around. But it didn't 
take long before at least some 
people on the left began to 

accommodate to this. And to begin to think of it as a 
kind of revolutionary phase, the breakdown of bourgeois 
society that ought to be tolerated and perhaps even 
encouraged as a way of moving revolutionary change 

We in our own small movement had to contend 
with all this. We were in the Young Peoples Socialist 
League. We were active in the civil rights movement. I 
remember the tremendous shock we felt as the culture 
began to change around us. I remember very vividly, for 
example, being active in the rent strikes going on in New 
York City. We had scores of low income people putting 
their rent money into escrow funds, and we had some 
$80,000 in the bank. We were terrified that the people 


collecting this money would begin to do things that would 
lose it and we would be mortally embarrassed because we 
had taken these people into our trust and then betrayed 

I remember the first time in Frontlash when we 
were able to get credit cards, and the difficulties we had 
with people coming into our movement from the culture 
of the New Left who took the credit cards and began to 
run up some unauthorized expenses. And I remember 
the terrible problems we had when we raised money from 
trade unions and from old timers in the movement to put 
on educational meetings and then found that people who 
came to them wanted to spend a lot of time smoking pot 
or getting drunk. It didn't take long for some of us to get 
the reputation of being the neo-fascists of the movement 
because we would insist on responsibility, that we had to 
conduct ourselves in these events in sensible ways, and 
that the purpose of all of this after all was to advance a 
political cause. 

So we ourselves, in the course of the work we did 
in our own small world, had to learn a lot about what are 
today called the values of personal responsibility. And 
we did this in a very democratic way. 

I would like to leap from this very particular 
experience to an attempt to answer Amitai Etzioni's 
conundrum. Yes, we have lost the old structures of 
authority and values in this society, and they can't be re- 
created from on high. But there is within the democratic 
experience, and in the effort to manage the affairs of 
society in a democratic way, the possibility to rediscover 
new ways of maintaining order and discipline and a 
sense of decency and responsibility. People such as 
Sidney Hook have tried to develop an ethics out of the 
democratic idea. 


To come back and close with the problem of social 
disintegration and the breakdown of values in some 
quarters of our community today, particularly in areas 
that are afflicted by such things as crime and drugs, it 
seems to me that communitarianism may be some 
solution to this. But communitarianism also has to have 
a great stress on democracy. And if we are going to go 
out into the world of the 1990s and seek to revive a civic 
ethic and a sense of personal morality, that needs to be 
linked to two things. It needs to be linked to democracy, 
and it needs to be linked to the creation of organizations 
in communities at a grassroots level that will draw 
people in. We need to give the decent people, the people 
President Clinton says abide by the rules and work hard, 
instruments whereby they can resist the breakdown and 
sometimes the delinquency that afflicts them. It is on 
that theme that rests the argument for a kind of broad, 
grassroots social democratic movement as an instrument 
for reviving civic and personal value in the country. 

So democracy, grass roots organization and 
responsibility provide some solution to the breakdown of 
the old structures that Amitai Etzioni referred to. ♦ 

Michael Meyers 

Michael Meyers is a co-founder and executive director of 
the New York Civil Rights Coalition. Prior to this 
position, he served as special assistant to the Chancellor 
of the New Jersey Department of Higher Education and 
as assistant director under Roy Wilkins and Benjamin 
Hooks of the National Association for the Advancement of 
Colored People (NAACP). 



X he discussion paper was both easy and difficult 
reading. Easy because it was well written, thoughtful 
and optimistic. Difficult because the ideas flowed too 
easily, because the thoughts were so clear and 
provocative, and because the tone was too optimistic. Let 
me contribute my fuzziness and some pessisim to your 

I believe that in addition to taxation concerns and 
our assessment of democratic institutions, and of every 
democrat's right of passage from poverty to the ranks of 
the rich and scandalous, we must attempt to understand 
the nature of racial ambivalence, including such concepts 
as guilt, hate, moral confusion and conflict, and value 
education. Also we must understand the role of 
leadership, particularly with relationship to gradualism 
and other forms of equivocation and ambiguity that are 
usually associated with politicians and the guardians of 
our legal and decision-making processes. 

I speak not as a psychologist, but one whose 
discipline is the law, and as a civil rights activist and 
self-appointed advocate of the interests of poor and 
powerless people. like good government groups, we in 
the civil rights community are career outsiders, Before, 
during and after every election we criticize and we cajole. 
We have invented a word to make us feel comfortable 
about our outhouse status: non-partisan, We have 
criticized at the national level, in my memory, John 
Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Walter Mondale, George 
McGovern, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and, God 
knows, Ronald Reagan and certainly George Bush. We 
have already begun to do our number on Bill Clinton. 

This is not to say all who are associated with such 
civil rights causes are guilty of such preoccupation with 

being unfashionable, and non-establishmentarian. 
Indeed, increasingly, civil rights leaders are joining the 
ranks of politicians. Jesse Jackson is one recent 
example, as is Ron Brown. Eleanor Holmes Norton is 
also a good example. Al Sharpton is yet another kind of 
example, not to overlook Marion Barry. The president of 
the New York State NAACP is a national Democratic 

Party bigwig and a political 
ally of Governor Cuomo and 
an employee of Mayor David 
Dinkins. Our preachers too 
have become politicians, even 
as our politicians have 
become preachers. 

Indeed, emotionalism, 
especially when it plays on 
traditional concepts of 
victimization, has a strong 
influence on the consti- 
tuencies of both politicians 
and preachers. Camouflaged as self-help, self- 
determination, community renewal and the like, 
sloganeering, especially racial sloganeering, is a powerful 
and potentially destructive force, "Buy Black," for 
example, is not to all a racist concept, unless you place 
the slogan, the sign, in the face of a Korean merchant in 
a largely black community during a boycott of Korean 
shops. Those who rationalize such sloganeering as a 
strategy for self sufficiency, also see it as their answer to 
the slogan, "No More Welfare" - code words that suggest 
that blacks have become too dependent on government 
welfare programs. 

Few regard the phrase "No More Welfare" as a 
demand that government stop subsidizing major 



corporations and favorite nation states. Indeed, it is 
curious but also predictable, given Americans historic 
ambivalence toward race, toward skin color, that scholars 
and politicians and community leaders and preachers 
would all join forces in urging blacks to bring about 
better and more responsible behavior among their 
members. But no such demand is made of whites as a 
group, for the miscreant behavior of individuals who are 
identified in our social construct as Caucasians. Roy 
Wilkins put it this way; "The decent adult behavior of the 
many is forgotten in the loud, profane and obscure 
language of one Negro drunk on a bus or a subway 
train/' Snap group judgements, stereotyping and 
scapegoating contaminate our public discourse and 
governmental administration. 

Finally, we must develop a compelling literature 
about what I caU "democratic racism." We must do so if 
we are to understand and to develop strategies for 
effectively counteracting hypocrisy and double talk, which 
fuel cynicism, defeatism and anger on the part of those 
who are not privileged, not rich, not equal opportunity 
beneficiaries. To them, all the rancor about quotas is a 
vociferous debate over tokenism and gradualism. There 
is much opposition to quotas, little opposition to 

The homeless, the jobless, the hungry, the 
powerless, the functional illiterates, the babies, children 
and adults who are dying of AIDS are not to be saved 
through tokenism, through gradualism, through public 
relations techniques of mollifying the electorate. 
Sloganeering about self-help, self-determination, and 
family values only demeans and exploits their plight. 

I said something like this recently about the social 
conditions of New York City and the ethnic polarization 

there. I said that it is of course important for leaders to 
condemn racism, but that verbal posturing is inadequate, 
is insufficient. 

The task of concerned citizens and especially 
social democrats like yourselves is to analyze, to agitate, 
to resist all invitations to be co-opted, to engage in 
gimmickry, to engage in flamboyant, rhetorical public 
relations charades. Social democrats should be willing to 
examine the prestige needs of some human beings who 
are preoccupied with gaining and maintaining superiority 
over other human beings based on race, color, nationality, 
ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation. If you do 
not address this problem directly, then hypocrisy and 
equivocation will be the order of the day, and we will be 
discussing the same problems of social justice and social 
responsibility in the same old dysfunctional ways, 
without substantial clues to real solutions. ♦ 


Miro Todorovich: Sidney Hook taught me the value of 
overviews. Before this overview, I want to make a short 
semantic digression on the term "new industrial 
revolution.'' Yes, there is a revolution going on, but it is 
a question whether "industrial" is the right name. The 
first one started when, due to the discoveries of science, 
the harnessing of the inanimate parts of nature extended 
the muscle of human beings and profoundly altered the 
capabilities that we could put at the disposal of 
humanity. But what we are now facing is no longer the 
extension of the muscle but the extension of the 
capability of control of the muscle, or communications. 
The first revolution created something analogous to the 


dinosaur world, big things of huge size and strength, but 
of a relatively slow, diffuse brain, and when things got 
tough, the dinosaur disappeared. What inherited the 
world were new creatures that developed their brain far 
beyond what could have been before. With the advent of 
cybernetics and computers, we are at the threshold of 
having such an absolutely fantastic opening, if we are 
only willing to take it open-mindedly and not simply try 
to apply old methods to a very new and unforeseen 

Now, to the Hookian comment. I think that if 
Sidney Hook were here he would point out that the 
collapse of central direction of the economy in the 
Eastern bloc and some other countries could be tied to 
the impossibility of creating an absolutely scientific 
understanding of the movement of social forces. Hard 
scientists in the technical world have created a little 
island of certainly where physical and mathematical laws 
work. But to believe that the same sort of certainly can 
be accomplished in human, natural interactions, and to 
try to enforce this, can lead again to tensions and 
problems that we have witnessed in the last 50 years of 
this century. So we should be cautious against anyone 
who offers a very simple solution. 

A second point made here is that there is a 
distrust of old forms, and that a participatory democracy 
could substitute, Every one presses a button in an 
election day by day, and that determines the future of 
our society. Experience again says that structured 
organisms with distributed functions , then bound 
together, are usually much more successful than a total 
diffusion of responsibility and power. 

One thing that was not mentioned is that there is 
today an emerging cleavage between some who have been 


dedicated to the betterment of the human condition, and 
some who think that there is a great danger for planet 
earth from such conditions. Groups like the one gathered 
here can work to carefully analyze the problems and try 
to guide the future towards a comparative work rather 
than a contradictory confrontation. 

David Jessup: Neither the panelists nor the paper 
gives voice to the degree of alarm that I know I feel and 
I think a lot of Americans feel about the breakdown of 
basic human values and the consequences it is having in 
some segments of the community. The thing that was 
the last straw for me was the killing of the public school 
principal in New York. We sit here talking about this 
civic program or that service opportunity, but they all 
presuppose a basic fundamental degree of socialization 
that Fm not sure is there for a growing number of young 
people in our society. These are kids being raised 
without families, and they are in turn producing other 
kids without the benefit of a basic family structure. It's 
scary, and I don't hear anyone talking about it. 

Fred Siegel: There are two elementary schools in 
Redhook, the area where the public school principal was 
killed. The schools are demographically indistinguishable. 
They are indistinguishable in terms of the economic 
support they get. The only difference was this principal. 
In the school headed by him, there was a very high 
graduation rate, there was relatively little disorder in the 
halls, and kids went on to be fairly successful. The other 
school is a disaster. Leadership counts. 

A while ago I interviewed a woman who was the 
leader of the tenants rights movement in the Redhook 
Projects, and here Fm sure Michael and I will disagree. 


She became the leader of the movement in the 1960s to 
eliminate the role of the manager, to eliminate the rules 
against walking on the lawn. It's hard to remember that 
25 years ago, you could be fined in the projects if you 
walked on the lawn. I lived in very similar projects as a 
kid, and I remember being fined. There were a variety 
of fines for writing in the elevator, for tipping over the 
garbage pails, etc. As part of what she now thinks was 
a mistaken part of the civil rights movement, there was 
an attempt to eliminate all constraints, all impositions of 
authority in the projects on the grounds that, because 
sometimes they were applied unequally, they were 
remnants of a past order. They should all be swept away 
and the Age of Aquarius would arrive. Lo and behold, 20 
years later, she is fighting to reinstitute those same rules 
and regulations. 

Having accomplished, to some extent, the 
breakdown of racist laws, it is now necessary to recreate 
a sense of shared, legitimate authority in public space. 
Otherwise, everyone who can leave those spaces will flee. 
She says the upshot of the elimination of the rules and 
regulations was that the people who remained were left 
at the mercy of the toughest and meanest people in the 
projects. So the ehmination of unfair laws produced 
lawlessness itself. She says that the higher synthesis 
now has to be authority which is egalitarian and race 
neutral, but which recognizes the elementary need for 
order and socialization. 

Michael Meyers: Some see this problem as a 
breakdown of family and family values. I don't see it as 
that simple. I don't see this problem as one of rules. I 
do believe that the poor also have rights under the 
constitution and government should not begin to 


promulgate rules that would be overly intrusive on their 
right of privacy. For example, I remember the days for 
people on welfare when investigators came to your home, 
and you couldn't have a telephone, a t/v., a man in the 
house. So poor people had to hide their telephones; they 
had to subject their human dignity to the viscidities of 
government regulators who believed they were 
undeservedly receiving government money. I think the 
problem is larger than one of rules and regulation of the 
poor. The problem is a larger cultural, a larger societal 
problem, and there's not a color to that problem. 
Teenage pregnancy is not a black problem or a brown 
problem. People who have money and who have a middle 
class status have a different way of negotiating a teenage 
pregnancy and different ways of preventing it. We're 
living in a society of "hasta la vista, baby. 11 It's an 
invitation to violence and recklessness all over the 
country. We have college students who turn on their 
professors. We have a fascination with the Amy Fishers 
of the world. But do we have similar discussions about 
her family structure and her family break down? 

Fred Siegel: Yes. 

Michael Meyers: I don't think the discussion is 
identical. But we are living in a world that is not 
dissimilar to previous eras, of wanton violence, of the 
Caligulas of the world, of people who have no sense of 
decency. We have to control our society by getting the 
best, rather than the worst, out of our children. Our 
children are really mocking and mimicking the worst 
passions and the worst behaviors of adults. Adults have 
a role to play in terms of changing that kind of behavior 
and encouraging positive behavior, I don't think Fred 


and I will always disagree about what kind of rules are 
needed. But I do not think that the poor, because they 
are poor, should be deprived of the constitutional rights 
that we apply to everyone else. 

Suzanne Goldsmith: I don't necessarily see the same 
widespread breakdown of values. I think it's a problem 
of lack of a voice, a moral voice for the rest of the people. 
If you work with young people in the inner city, you find 
that there are a few who are violent, and their actions 
are magnified by drugs and by guns. The rest of the 
young people have pretty strong moral values. But they 
don't feel that there's any legitimacy to speaking about 
them or to speaking out against the others, the 
minority. We need to restore some of the legitimacy to 
that discussion by talking about values. The great 
triumph of individualism has been that we th ink we have 
to accept any kind of behavior and it's bad to speak 
against it. But that isn't necessarily the case, and with 
leadership, we can fight that. 

Ronald Radosh: The theme of this conference is the 
relevance of social democracy. Marty Lipset began his 
talk by suggesting that social democracy is meaningless. 
As he said, socialist leaders in Europe have essentially 
all adopted market capitalism and at best, as Henry 
Grunwald wrote in Time magazine, social democracy is 
capitalism with a human face. Leszek Kolakowski, in a 
speech he gave last year at Columbia University, said 
that marxism has proven to be the most fallacious theory 
of the 19th and 20th centuries and for better or worse, 
the socialist project is dead. But, he said, social 
democracy lives on as an animating spirit responsible for 
some of the great, humanitarian social, economic and 


political reforms of the 20th century. And in that sense, 
he said, while socialism is dead, social democracy still 
plays a vital role. 

I thought Marty Iipset might like to comment on 
that, and to tie it in with what Penn said about the labor 
movement. Many of us in this room were raised on the 
tradition that America already had social democracy in 
the AFL-CIO, the American labor movement. I think it 
is still a valid point, that there can be no major political 
or social reform without the commitment and the 
participation of the American labor movement. I would 
like Will Marshall to comment. He denied any great 
divergence between or negative animus toward unionism. 
Possibly not on his part, but Joe Klein, for example, has 
written that trade unionism is a reactionary force in 
America. And Joe Klein was the first Clintonite 
journalist. Once a member of the old left, from the same 
Red Diaper tradition as some of us, he now sees unions 
as a reactionary force, and writing from a DLC 
perspective, he attacks labor unions regularly. Does 
Marty Lipset think that unions are reactionary, or that 
social democracy is passe? Or is Kolakowski correct in 
saying that there is still a vital social democratic 

Seymour Martin Lipset: I don't think unionism is 
reactionary. Daniel Bell made the point that trade 
unions have two roles. We speak of the trade unions as 
a movement. On the one hand, they are organizations 
that seek to get as much as they can for their members. 
But, in spite of how self-interested the unions are, they 
have accepted or been given a role as defender of the 
underdog in society. So, for example, even when people 
were attacking it in the old days for not having black 


officers except for A. Philip Randolph, and not having 
women officers, the AFL-CIO nevertheless endorsed 
almost every civil rights and women's rights measure. 

So you have what is sometimes a contradiction. 
The labor movement is inherently on the side of equality 
because it is perceived, and its only legitimization is as 
an organization of people who are underdogs ~ even 
though some members may as individuals be fairly 
affluent. This ties into the sense that while the class 
struggle in the marxian sense never really existed, there 
always has been an inherent tension, and that is the 
relation of stratification. As you go down the social 
order, people want more for themselves and they struggle 
for equality. Conversely, other people want to keep what 
they have. If you look at how people vote, there is 
always a strong correlation between people's income or 
education or occupation and how they vote. There was in 
1992. The more well-to-do people are, the more likely 
they were to vote Republican. The less well-to-do, the 
more likely they were to vote Democratic. Obviously, 
these are only correlations. As we used to say, there are 
rich communists and poor reactionaries. But basically, 
there are the people who have and want to keep what 
they have, and the people who don't have. 

Some people found it confusing in the former 
Soviet Union to talk of the communists as the right, as 
the conservatives, and to talk of the people who 
advocated free enterprise and were in fact Reaganites as 
the left This language was correct. Ifyougobacktothe 
original liberal-conservative dimension in the 19th 
century, it worked this way. People who want to 
maintain the status quo, to maintain privilege are 
defined as conservatives, or the right. 


In that sense, social democracy is a term for this 
more egalitarian, and as I said earlier today, this more 
democratic ethos. But when one says that's what it is, 
you give it a lot of credit, but it doesn't mean very much. 
The question of what made social democracy a movement 
was a very integrated ideology, which originally stemmed 
from marxism, then was modified, but was still of social 
transformation towards something called a socialist 
society. While the nature of it was modified (it wasn't 
going to be all government ownership, it was going to be 
partial government ownership, planning was going to 
vary, etc.), basically it was a movement in the statist 
direction. And this is something we no longer believe. 
While we still want to use the state where necessary to 
help solve certain problems, we've changed our whole 
orientation toward it. That raises the question whether 
it is still the same movement, whether you still can talk 
of the same ideology. 

One last point. Carl Gershman referred to 
Sampson and his notions of socialism and Americanism. 
In fact, what Sampson said is that, property relations 
apart (and it's a big apart), Americanism and socialism 
were identical. In his book that came out in 1933 when 
he was a left wing member of the Socialist Party, 
Sampson had two columns to show that Americanism 
and socialism were similar. On one side, he had a series 
of statements from prominent Americans. On the other 
side, he had statements from Marx, Engels, Lenin and 
Stalin. The point was to show that their idea of the good 
society was the same. You might think he quoted 
Americans like Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt. He didn't. 
He quoted Herbert Hoover, Andrew Mellon, John D. 
Rockefeller. They talked about a classless society, about 
equality of opportunity . 


Sampson's point was that conservatives in 
America had an image of the good society that no 
conservative did in Europe, where they have the 
hierarchal and aristocratic tradition linked to 
conservatism. But Americanism, whether left or right, 
encompasses the notion of an egalitarian, equality-of- 
opportunity society. That when American leftists and 
American rightists (rightists including people like Ronald 
Reagan and Herbert Hoover) disagree, it is not over 
whether to have equality of opportunity, not whether it 
is reactionary to inherit wealth, etc. , but the means to get 
there. One thinks you can do it by the free market 
system, and the other that you need a certain degree of 
government intervention. 

But the other part of Americanism that really 
screwed up the socialists was that Americans are 
classically anti-state. The American ideology, the 
American tradition is an anti-state tradition. The 
American labor movement was anti-state. Samuel 
Gompers used to say that what the state gives, the state 
can take away, so workers can rely only on themselves. 
The state as an employer is much more difficult to deal 
with than a private employer, and therefore Gompers 
didn't want the state as an employer. He wanted to deal 
with the private employer. The AFL was never 
conservative. That's one of the great misnomers. The 
AFL was more militant than European unions. Its strike 
record was more extensive. It engaged in violence more 
than European, socialist unions. The AFL was 
sindicalist. And the IWW wasn't socialist, it was 
anarcho-sindicalist. Both the AFL and the IWW were 
against the state. They were for the workers, but against 
the state. 


One of the big problems of socialist movements in 
America is that Americans have never trusted the state. 
Americans have been, in lawyer's language, classically 
suspicious of the state, which I think is a good thing. 
Social Democrats, USA is also very suspicious of the 
state. But the term social democratic is still linked to the 
idea of a statist movement, to a movement that relies on 
the state. I don't know if we should call ourselves a 
sindicalist movement. Maybe that would be a cure-all 

Penn Eemble: Marty approaches this in a very 
Olympian way as he should as an academic analyst. But 
there are very significant ways in which people such as 
we here in this room can define and redefine what social 
democracy means, and I think that's what the exercise 
with this paper is really about. It may be that in the 
U.S. and elsewhere, there is a changing attitude on some 
of these things. In the last few months, IVe had dinner 
with Ricardo Lagos, the Chilean socialist leader, and 
with Karsten Voigt of the German SPD. We showed 
them our paper and they said, yes a lot of these things 
are the things we're talking about too. We find ourselves 
moving in the same direction as Bill Clinton on many of 
these issues. So I don't think these definitions are 
necessarily fixed forever. 

The experiences we've had in the last 20 years or 
so have shown that small groups of people who worked 
on refining their ideas and maintained close relationships 
with one another have had immense effect on American 
politics. That was true of the New Left of the early '60s. 
It was true of the New Right. And I think it's reasonable 
to expect that that's going to be the case in the future. 
So a movement such as ours, though it may be small, if 
it develops a clear sense of what it wants and maintains 


the kind of functional unity that enables it to get its 
ideas across, could have a very big effect, even on such 
grand issues as "what is social democracy." 

Will Marshall: First I want to disclaim any 
responsibility for Joe Klein. Certainly we see eye to eye 
on some things, but I don't want to take any 
responsibility for those particular comments he made. I 
know where Joe and I would agree is on the nexus of 
public bureaucracy and union power and how that often 
stands in the way of reforms we think are essential to 
revive municipal governance in the first instance, and to 
revive faith in progressive governance among the 
taxpayers who see their money taken for purposes that 
don't seem to be advancing any common purpose. 

I don't think Marty's comments were Olympian at 
all. I think they got right to the point, and that is if the 
transcendent purpose with which unionism has always 
been associated no longer obtains today, then what is 
that purpose? And if the union movement is unable to 
articulate it or define it, then why shouldn't people 
assume that actions taken, policies supported and 
innovations opposed are part of an effort to maintain 
powers, privileges, positions won over decades of 
struggle? Reactionary is strong language. But when one 
gets involved in the business of peddling ideas, as I have 
been in the last several years, innovations like national 
service, public school choice, welfare reform, some of the 
reinventing government ideas which include, but are by 
no means limited to privatization, one keeps butting one's 
head against union resistance. 

I understand it. People's jobs are on the line; 
people are threatened. There has been a climate in the 
country that has been hostile. I don't think the animus 


has come from us. But it certainly has come from the 
Reagan right. I suppose that the question I want to raise 
is: on whose back is the monkey? Who is responsible for 
defining the transcendent purpose with which unionism 
today is associated, the broader, progressive purpose, the 
vision of the common good that, by advancing its agenda, 
it advances? We should be part of that, but we have to 
do that with others. 

Michael Meyers: Joe Klein defines greed and corruption 
as unionism. I think the real point is how does unionism 
define itself And if unionism becomes corrupted by race, 
by self-preservation, by parochialism, then that will 
present a problem for its survival. But unionism is and 
can be a great force for positive change, whether in the 
public sector or the private sector, because it has a 
concern for due process, it has a concern for fair wages 
and equal opportunity. However, it's living in a 
democratic, conflicted and convoluted environment. I 
think that requires unionism to define itself perpetually 
as one of the positive forces and not one of the negative 

Hershel Elias: Mr. Meyers, how can you say that 
talking about family values is destructive and demeaning 
to minorities? 

Michael Meyers: It's sloganeering. 

Hershel Elias: My father is Hispanic, and if he were 
brought up today, with the breakdown in family values 
now in the barrios, he never would have advanced. If 
anything, it should be the minorities who call for more 


law and order and more values, because they are the 
ones who can't escape the ghettos and the barrios. 

Michael Meyers: As Suzanne has already said, the 
majority of minorities are for law and order. The majority 
of minorities have good, positive values. It's a small 
minority of blacks, a small minority of His panics, a small 
minority of whites who are socially dysfunctional. 

Hershel Elias; That's right, but they have taken over 
the public schools right now. I teach in one of the better 
public schools in Philadelphia, There is violence all over, 
and there's no way students can learn. 

Michael Meyers: That's not a color problem. 

Hershel Elias: It's a cultural problem. It's also a class 
problem. If my father were growing up today in the 
same neighborhood in East New York, there's no way he 
would have gotten the fine education that he did, and 
there's no way he would have been able to escape the 

Michael Meyers: Culture is not synonymous with color. 

Ronald Radosh: We have certainly raised a whole 
series of questions that we must continue to explore. I 
want to thank you all for participating in this important 
exchange and invite you to continue the dialogue with us. 




Brian Adkins 

University of Maryland 
Stuart Appelbaum 

Itetail, Wholesale, Department Store Union 
John Atlas 

National Housing Institute 
Beth Bader 

American Federation of Teachers 
Mildred Barnett 

Social Democrats, USA 
Ray Barnett 

Social Democrats, USA 
Burnie Bond 

Department of International Affairs, AFL-CIO 
Charles Brown 

Freedom House 
Bruce P. Cameron 

Patricia Campos 

Cornell University 
Mary Eva Candon 

Executive Director, Legal Aid Society of the District 

of Columbia 
Marie Louise Caravatti 

Jim B. Chapin 

Democratic Socialists of America 
Eric Chenoweth 

Department of International Affairs, AFL-CIO 
Karin Chenoweth 

Freelance Journalist 


Randolph Clarke 

Social Democrats, USA 
Roger dayman 

Roger Conner 

Brookings Institution 
Devon Cross 

Smith Richardson Foundation 
Bill Cunningham 

Department of Economic Research, AFL-CIO 
George Curtin 

Dieter Detke 

Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung 
E.J. Dionne 

The Washington Post 
Martin Doherty 

Service Employees International Union 
Mary Donn 

Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen 
David Dorn 

American Federation of Teachers 
Alec Epstein 

Amitai Etzioni 

Professor, George Washington University 
Rev. Keith Fennessey 

St. Columbanus Parish 
Ann Fishman 

Executive Director, Association of State Democratic 
Phillip Fishman 

Assistant Director, Department of International Affairs 


Alain Fournier 

American Federation of Teachers 
Steven Fleischman 

American Federation of Teachers 
Shawna Francis 

Bayard Rustin Fund 
Eugene Freedman 

Cornell University 
Hershel Elias 

Social Democrats, USA 
Joel Freedman 

Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen 
Rita Freedman 

Executive Director, Social Democrats, USA 
Roberto Frisancho 

Inter-American Defense Board 
Julie Furth 

William Galston 

School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland 
Matthew Gandal 

American Federation of Teachers 
Carl Gershman 

President, National Endowment for Democracy 
Laurie Gershman 

Social Democrats, USA 
Suzanne Goldsmith 

American Alliance for Eights and Responsibilities 
Paul Gordon 

Cheryl Graeve 

Executive Director, Frontlash 
Harry Gunther 

United Steelworkers of America 



David Hacker 

Darin Kinzer 

Social Democrats, USA 

Free Trade Union Institute, AFL-CIO 

David Hawk 

Robert Kleiman 

Cambodian Documentation Center 

Lecturer in History, Stanford University 

Stacey Heath 

David Kopilow 

Free Trade Union Institute, AFL-CIO 

Free Trade Union Institute, AFL-CIO 

Deborah Hess 

June Kopilow 

Norman Hill 

Social Democrats, USA 

President, A. Philip Randolph Institute 

Seymour Kopilow 

Carlos Holland 

Social Democrats, USA 

Social Democrats, USA 

Paul Krupa 

James Horowitz 

Maritime Employees Benefit Association 

American Federation of Teachers 

Phil Kugler 

David Graceson 

American Federation of Teachers 

A* Philip Randolph Institute 

Mary E. Landry 

Greg Humphrey 

Maryland Labor Educational, Inc. 

American Federation of Teachers 

Charles D. Lane 

David Jessup 

General Editor, Newsweek 

American Institute for Free Labor Development 

Katherine Leiken 

Linda Jessup 

Independent Film Producer 

Parenting Consultant 

Robert S. Leiken 

Tim James 


Office of Congressman Jerrold Nadler 

Sam Leiken 

Bruce Jay 


American Institute for Free Labor Development 

Louis Leopold 

Benjamin Kahan 

Social Democrats, USA 

Social Democrats, USA 

Ruth Leopold 

Eugenia Kemble 

Social Democrats, USA 

American Federation of Teachers 

Tracy Levine 

Penn Kemble 

University of Maryland 

Senior Associate, Freedom House 

Seymour Martin Lipset 

Michele King 

Hazel Professor of Public Policy, George Mason 

Union Privilege, AFL-CIO 



Sidnee Lipset 

Woodrow Wilson Center 
Dimon Liu 

China Human Rights Foundation 
Jessica Looman 

Jillian Lusaka 

Bayard Rustin Fund 
Herb Magidson 

New York State United Teachers 
Will Marshall 

President, Progressive Policy Institute 
Michael G. McMillan 

Executive Director, Human Resources Development 

Louis Menashe 

Professor, Polytechnic Institute of New York 
David Mertz 

Retail, Wholesale, Department Store Union 
Rick Messick 

Institute for liberty and Democracy 
Michael Meyers 

Executive Director, New York Civil Rights Coalition 
Bruce McColm 

Executive Director, Freedom House 
Mihajlo Mihajlov 

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty 
Everett G. Miller 

President, Maryland Labor Education Assoc,, Inc. 
Nancy Mills 

Service Employees International Union 
Lawrence Mishel 
Research Director, Economic Policy Institute 


John Murphy 

Social Democrats, USA 
Joshua Muravchik 

Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute 
Emmanuel Muravchik 

Social Democrats, USA 
Miriam Muravchik 

International Rescue Committee 
Walter Naegle 

Executive Director, The Bayard Rustin Fund 
Fred Nauman 

New York State United Teachers 
Michael Novak 

American Enterprise Institute 
Arne J. Oker 

Social Democrats, USA 
Richard Oulahan 

Operating Engineers International Union, Local 53 
Michael Perry 

Executive Director, Jewish Labor Committee 
David Pinsky 

Social Democrats, USA 
Steve Protulis 

Committee on Political Education, AFL-CIO 
Arch Puddington 

Deputy Director, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty 
Ronald Radosh 

American Federation of Teachers 
Chris Raver 

Patrick Rayner 

United Food and Commerical Workers Union 
Herman Rebhan 

International Metalworkers Federation 



Deborah Reed 

Perry M. Robinson 

American Federation of Teachers 
Quentin C* Robinson 

Northern Virginia Community College 
Charlotte Roe-Bravo 

U.S. Department of State 
Ed Rothstein 

Social Democrats, USA 
Gerald Rubin 

World Without War Council 
Wendy Sawitz 

Social Democrats, USA 
Hugh Schwartzberg 

Annabel Seidman 
Bert Seidman 

Jewish Labor Committee; National Council of Senior 

Yetta B. Shachtman 

Social Democrats, USA 
Albert Shanker 

President, American Federation of Teachers 
Elizabeth Shoilenberger 

Democratic District Leader, Greenwich Village (NY) 
Fred Siegel 

Professor of History and Humanities, The Cooper 

Martin Sklar 

Professor of History, Bucknell University 
Donald Slaiman, Jr. 

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions 

Don Slaiman 

President, Social Democrats, USA 
Gary Slaiman 

Chief Counsel, Senate Labor Subcommittee 
Lauren Slaiman 

League for Industrial Democracy 
Jessica Smith 

Seafarers International Union 
Paul Somogyi 

Executive Director, Free Trade Union Institute 
Rosalind Spigel 

Jewish Labor Committee 
Ira L. Strauss 

Committee on Eastern Europe and Russia in NATO 
Paul Starr 

Department of Sociology, Princeton University 
Joan Suall 

Social Democrats, USA 
Julia W. Sukenik 

Social Democrats, USA 
Mary Temple 

Executive Director, Land Council 
Mark Steinmeyer 

Smith Richardson Foundation 
John Thomas 

Department of Defense 
Victoria Thomas 

Freedom House 
Miro M. Todorovich 

University Centers for Rational Alternatives 
Les Trachtman 
Steven M. Tullberg 

Director, Indian Law Resource Center 


David Twersky 

Associate Editor, The Forward 
Joseph B. Uehlein 

Industrial Union Department, AFL-CIO 
Ruth Wattenberg 

American Federation of Teachers 
Herbert Weiner 

Labor Attache, retired 
Lynn Williams 

President, United Steelworkers of America 
Affis Wolfe 

National Endowment for the Humanities 
Alex Wollod 

Social Democrats, USA 
Toba Wollod 

Social Democrats, USA 
John Zuraw 

University of Maryland 

X his publication is an edited transcript of audio 
tapes made during the conference. The transcripts were 
not reviewed by the speakers before publication. There 
may be omissions due to gaps in the audio tape, or other 
errors resulting from unclear or misunderstood words or 

The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of 
the sponsoring organizations. 

M.hv eollnpse of communion, the spread of democracy, 
the globalization of the economy and the election of Bill 
< MmLon have all coalesced to create a sense that one era 
has ended and another is beginning. But the shape of the 
future period is not yet clear. 

Change and re-examination of long-held views are 
evident not only in the United States but elsewhere 
around the world as others also grapple with the political 
and intellectual challenges of this remarkable new 
moment in history. 

On January 8 and 9, 1993, a diverse group -- of 
academics and labor leaders, liberals and social 
democrats — engaged in a discussion to explore the 
responses to these vast changes. Focusing on a document 
entitled Why America Needs a Social Democratic 
Movement, the gathering examined: 

* our economy — globalization and the limited power of 
nation-states, new technology and the changing nature of 
work, the increasing concentration of wealth, the 
relationship between government and the market 

* our polity — what are "special interests/' what are 
citizens' responsibilities beyond voting, can campaign 
reform change the correspondence between wealth and 
power, do we need a grassroots movement; 

* our community - what is the relationship between 
rights and responsibilities, do we need a new "social 
contract," how should our institutions respond to a 
multicultural population? 

Those who are interested in these ideas and the impact 
they can have on our society will find this conversation 
stimulating and rewarding, ♦ 

Social Democrats, USA ♦ 815 15th Street, NW, 511 ♦ Washington, DC 20005